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Articles on workplace-related issues from newspapers and Internet news sources around the country.

February 24, 2017

Two From Big Law On Trump’s Labor List

Source: Chris Opfer and Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

New York's paid family leave program is a step closer to reality. Three lawyers are on the Trump administration’s shortlist to fill a pair of vacancies at the National Labor Relations Board, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg BNA today. Marvin Kaplan, William Emanuel and Doug Seaton are the leading candidates for the openings, which are expected to give the NLRB its first Republican majority in nine years. The vacancies come as the board is likely to grapple with a number of significant legal issues, including the extent to which businesses and other entities may be considered joint employers for liability purposes and whether “micro-units” of workers within a larger workplace can unionize.

Parents fight for higher wages for childcare workers

Source: CBS News, CBS News

A group of parents is fighting for higher wages for workers at one of the nation’s largest early childhood education companies. According to government data from 2015, childcare workers make an average of $9.77 an hour. That’s only 68 cents more than the earnings of fast food employees and some others in the food and beverage industry. It is 83 cents less than what retail workers earn.

February 23, 2017

Ben’s Kosher Deli owner denies reports he fired workers

Source: Victor Manuel Ramos, Newsday

Telemundo reported Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers fired 25 employees who boycotted work for the “Day Without Immigrants,” a protest against what they called President Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies. That did not happen, according to deli owner Ronnie Dragoon. Dragoon said he fired one worker after that employee threatened a manager and other workers who didn’t back the protest. He said he also let go two temporary workers who missed work that day. Anita Halasz, executive director of immigrant- and labor-advocacy group Long Island Jobs With Justice, said her organization was not aware of the Greenvale case. She had heard from one local pizza shop employee claiming he was fired over the immigrants’ protest.

Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture

Source: Mike Isaac, The New York Times

Interviews with more than 30 current and former Uber employees, as well as reviews of internal emails, chat logs and tape-recorded meetings, paint a picture of an often unrestrained workplace culture. Among the most egregious accusations from employees, who either witnessed or were subject to incidents and who asked to remain anonymous because of confidentiality agreements and fear of retaliation: One Uber manager groped female co-workers’ breasts at a company retreat in Las Vegas. A director shouted a homophobic slur at a subordinate during a heated confrontation in a meeting. Another manager threatened to beat an underperforming employee’s head in with a baseball bat.

February 22, 2017

Trump wooed the working class. Now labor leaders are worried

Source: Aubrey Whelan, The Philadelphia Inquirer

For some union members, Trump's populist message hit home. Voters in union households still turned out for Democrats — but Clinton won them by only 8 percent, according to exit polling, the smallest margin since President Ronald Reagan’s re-election in 1984. Now, labor leaders are mapping out what to do in the wake of the vote.

Puzder’s Out, But Acosta Raises Questions

Source: Justin Miller, The American Prospect

Less than 24 hours after celebrating former labor secretary nominee Andy Puzder’s withdrawal, labor advocates are now scrambling to get up to speed on Trump’s new nominee, Alexander Acosta. President Trump announced that he thinks Acosta will make a “tremendous secretary of labor,” but made no mention of Puzder’s failed nomination. Even though Acosta is a more mainline conservative than Puzder, labor groups have a lot of policy concerns. Organizers who led the opposition campaign are keeping their powder dry, saying that the failure of Puzder’s nomination doesn’t mean they’re out of the woods just yet. It’s too early to know whether Acosta is qualified to lead the department. “We can’t say for sure that we won’t be as opposed to him as we were Puzder,” until more research is done, says Adam Shah, a senior policy analyst at the labor advocacy group Jobs With Justice.

6 Things You Should Know About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Source: Lindsey Lanquist, Self

"There's no hard-and-fast rule for what is and isn't sexual harassment," Paula Brantner, senior director at the policy institute Workplace Fairness tells SELF. "You have to look at it all in context." Brantner explains that sexual harassment is a legal term regarding forms of sex discrimination that violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (an act prohibiting employee discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion).

February 21, 2017

The Scandal That May Haunt the New Nominee for Labor Secretary

Source: Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

R. Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s pick to run the Labor Department following the withdrawal of Andrew Puzder’s nomination, was the head of the civil-rights division of the Department of Justice in the Bush administration during a period in which his subordinates became embroiled in a scandal over politicized hiring. That scandal raises questions about Acosta’s ability to effectively manage a much larger federal agency in an administration that has already shown a tendency to skirt ethics rules.

How immigrants are helping Detroit’s recovery

Source: The Economist, The Economist

“WE ARE proud of our Muslim community in Michigan,” says Rick Snyder, the state’s Republican governor. Mr. Snyder has emphasised the importance of welcoming people from across the world to this large midwestern state. Thanks to once-plentiful jobs in the car industry, greater Detroit has the largest Arab-American community in America. Hamtramck, another Detroit suburb, is the first city in America with a majority-Muslim city council. Mr. Snyder and Mike Duggan, the mayor of Detroit, are making population growth a gauge of their efforts to revitalise a state that is slowly recovering from a “lost decade” and a city devastated by the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history.

February 20, 2017

Trump's failed labor secretary pick reveals a fast-food industry at war

Source: Kate Taylor, Business Insider

On Wednesday, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder withdrew his name from consideration for the position of secretary of labor just a day before his confirmation hearing. Puzder's personal life likely played a role in his decision to withdraw, as the Senate examined allegations that he abused his ex-wife (which she later retracted).

Bears and Union Clash Over Workers’ Compensation for Players

Source: The Associated Press, Associated Press

Should injured pro athletes be allowed to earn workers’ compensation benefits until they are 67 years old, like other workers, even if their athletic careers normally would have ended more than 30 years earlier? That issue is being debated between the Chicago Bears and the N.F.L. players’ union in the Illinois Legislature as one unlikely element of a compromise proposal to end a nearly two-year-long fight over the state’s budget.

February 17, 2017

Trump's Second Pick for Labor Differs More in Style Than Policy

Source: Josh Eidelson and Jonathan Levin, Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s second nominee for labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, represents a bigger contrast with the prior pick on biography and personal style than on policy substance.

Right to work fails in NH House, 200-177

Source: Allie Morris, Concord Monitor

New Hampshire will not become a so-called right-to-work state today, or next year. The Republican-led House voted to kill the union-targeted legislation Thursday afternoon, ending weeks of high-charged debate. While many expected a close vote, the final tally was much wider, at 200-177. The body then voted to ban consideration of right-to-work for the rest of the session, effectively killing it for the next two years.

February 16, 2017

This Republican Senator Wants to Make Paid Leave A Republican Issue

Source: Rebecca Nelson, Cosmopolitan

Last week, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, a Republican, introduced a pair of bills aimed directly at helping women in the workplace. One, the Workplace Advancement Act, attempts to chip away at the gender pay gap by making it illegal to punish employees for asking about, or sharing, salary information. The other establishes a two-year pilot program that offers tax credits to employers who offer paid leave. The legislation — which Fischer first introduced in 2014 — comes after President Donald Trump unveiled a distinctly un-Republican mandatory paid leave proposal last year. Fischer’s plan sets the minimum at two weeks, and allows employers to choose whether or not they want to participate.

Trump to name ex-labor board member Acosta as labor secretary

Source: Robert Iafolla and Steve Holland, Reuters

President Donald Trump will nominate former National Labor Relations Board member R. Alexander Acosta to serve as U.S. secretary of labor, an administration official said on Thursday, one day after Trump's original choice withdrew. Acosta is dean of the Florida International University College of Law in Miami and is Trump’s first Hispanic nominee. Before returning to the private sector, Acosta had a decades-long public service career. He was appointed to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by former Republican President George W. Bush, who also appointed him to be assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. He was then appointed to be U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

February 15, 2017

Trade groups push Congress to reverse NLRB joint employer ruling

Source: Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

More than 50 business and trade groups are asking Congress to pass legislation to repeal the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new joint employer standard. In August 2015, the NLRB ruled that “indirect” and “potential” control over workers’ terms and conditions makes a company a joint employer.

Trump Labor Nominee Andrew Puzder Withdraws, First Cabinet Pick To Fall

Source: Yuki Noguchi, NPR

Fast-food executive Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination to head the Labor Department on Wednesday as his support on Capitol Hill faltered. Facing criticism from both sides of the aisle, Puzder became the first Trump Cabinet pick whose nomination failed.

February 14, 2017

Union Vote at Boeing Plant Tests Labor’s Sway Under Trump

Source: Noam Scheiber and Christopher Drew, The New York Times

Now that equation is being put to the test. Workers here will vote Wednesday on whether to unionize, an early test of organized labor’s strength in the Trump era. A vote to form the union would be a major victory for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which the workers would join.

N.Y. labor groups team up to attack Trump’s anti-worker policies

Source: Chauncey Alcorn and Ginger Adams, New York Daily News

Some of New York’s largest labor organizations announced Friday they are joining forces in an early attack on what they say are President Trump’s anti-worker policies. The gathering — which included community activists and leaders — specifically targeted some of Trump’s corporate allies, who are “trying to take advantage of the political moment to decimate workers’ rights,” the coalition said.

February 13, 2017

Japan Limited Immigration; Now It’s Short of Workers

Source: Jonathan Soble, The New York Times

Just like the United States and other developed countries, Japan has a hard time finding people to pick vegetables, collect nursing-home bedpans and wash restaurant dishes. In America, many of these low-skilled, low-paying jobs are filled by illegal immigrants, an arrangement attacked by President Trump during his campaign. Japan, on the other hand, long ago achieved what Mr. Trump has promised: It has very little illegal immigration and is officially closed to people seeking blue-collar work. Now, though, its tough stance on immigration — legal and illegal — is causing problems. Many Japanese industries are suffering from severe labor shortages, which has helped put a brake on economic growth.

Andy Puzder Is the One Cabinet Nominee All Republicans Should Reject

Source: Reihan Salam, Slate

Instead of appointing a labor secretary who evidently believes that wages for U.S. workers are much too high, Trump would do well to appoint someone who favors working with law-abiding employers to improve labor conditions and embrace productivity-boosting innovation, which in turn would make robust wage growth possible. A non-Puzder labor secretary might spearhead efforts to increase employment opportunities for the disabled and people living in poverty-stricken regions like Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, in keeping with Trump’s “buy American, hire American” agenda. More ambitiously still, that secretary might even champion new models for organizing workers that could revitalize America’s labor movement. Under the right leadership, the Labor Department could be the vehicle through which Trump demonstrates that his endless promises to fight for American workers were more than just hot air.

February 10, 2017

People Are Finding It Hard to Focus on Work Right Now

Source: Bourree Lam, The Atlantic

Now, a new survey commissioned by BetterWorks—a software company that helps workers with setting and tracking goals—finds that post-election, politics is continuing to take a toll on workplace productivity. The online survey included 500 nationally representative, full-time American workers, and found that 87 percent of them read political social-media posts during the day, and nearly 50 percent reported seeing a political conversation turning into an argument in the workplace. Twenty-nine percent of respondents say they’ve been less productive since the election.

Inside the GOP campaign to save Andrew Puzder's nomination

Source: Manu Raju, CNN

Republicans in the Senate are plotting an aggressive effort to save Andrew Puzder's embattled nomination to become labor secretary, leaning on well-funded business groups, the White House and the powerful Senate majority leader to ensure his confirmation over stiff opposition from the left. While GOP leaders have expressed confidence that Puzder will be confirmed, some top Republicans privately believe that the battle over the Labor Department nominee could be the most intense of any of President Donald Trump's picks so far.

February 9, 2017

Why Silicon Valley Wouldn’t Work Without Immigrants

Source: Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times

The protests that swept through Silicon Valley and Seattle in the last two weeks were not motivated by short-term financial gain. If you want to understand why tech employees went to the mat against Mr. Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, you need to first understand the crucial role that America’s relatively open immigration policies play in the tech business.

Trump and his nominee for labor secretary disagree on almost everything about the future of work

Source: Sarah Kessler, Quartz

CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder, who is US president Donald Trump’s nomination for labor secretary, has strong opinions about how to create American jobs. They just aren’t the same opinions as Trump’s. Puzder’s feelings on government involvement in labor are perhaps best outlined in a book he co-authored with entrepreneurship professor David Newton, titled Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It. In the book, Puzder argues against government incentives and taxes aimed at creating jobs. Trump, meanwhile, has suggested or enacted a number of measures aimed at inserting government into companies’ decisions about their employees.

February 8, 2017

Trump Administration Puts Support Behind Right-to-Work Laws

Source: Tyrone Richardson and Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

The Trump administration reaffirmed support for right-to-work laws, days after House Republicans reintroduced a bill that would prevent unions from requiring nonmembers to pay representation fees. Similar bills introduced in recent years didn’t move, but supporters say GOP control of the White House and Congress could make this time different. President Donald Trump expressed support for right-to-work laws on the campaign trail during his run for the White House.

How to Close a Gender Gap: Let Employees Control Their Schedules

Source: Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times

Flexibility regarding the time and place that work gets done would go a long way toward closing the gaps, economists say. Yet when people ask for it, especially parents, they can be penalized in pay and promotions. Social scientists call it the flexibility stigma, and it’s the reason that even when companies offer such policies, they’re not widely used.

How to Close a Gender Gap: Let Employees Control Their Schedules

Source: Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times

Flexibility regarding the time and place that work gets done would go a long way toward closing the gaps, economists say. Yet when people ask for it, especially parents, they can be penalized in pay and promotions. Social scientists call it the flexibility stigma, and it’s the reason that even when companies offer such policies, they’re not widely used.

February 7, 2017

Trump aides might be considering a major change to the president’s maternity leave plan

Source: Danielle Paquette, The Washington Post

When Donald Trump pitched his plan to extend paid leave to all new mothers in September, his campaign insisted the benefit would cover only women. But after critics called the proposal unconstitutional and said it would encourage employers to discriminate against women, the Trump administration might be considering a change of course. Aparna Mathur, a resident scholar in economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning research group, said she spoke in December to a “lower-level” member of Trump’s transition team about the president’s idea. Staffers were considering one key revision, she said: turning maternity leave into parental leave — a benefit that fathers, too, could access.

President Trump's Missing Labor Secretary

Source: Russell Berman, The Atlantic

This week will mark two months since Donald Trump, then the president-elect, named Andrew Puzder as his choice to be secretary of labor. The fast-food executive, who runs the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardees, has submitted none of the paperwork required by the Senate committee overseeing his confirmation. As a result, the panel’s Republican chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, has delayed Puzder’s confirmation hearing four times, and now his testimony has been put off indefinitely. An aide to Alexander said the chairman would not schedule Puzder’s hearing until the committee received both a signed agreement from the Office of Government Ethics and responses to a standard questionnaire that is also missing from his file.

February 6, 2017

The Ivy League's Gender Pay-Gap Problem

Source: Caroline Kitchener, The Atlantic

Across the United States, 34-year-old women, on average, make between 10 and 18 percent less than 34-year-old men. That gap isn’t surprising—it’s actually been slowly improving in recent years. What’s striking is that, when you only consider Ivy League graduates, the gap is significantly wider. This came to light in a study by The Equal Opportunity Project that focused primarily on socioeconomic inequality. The study showed that female Ivy League alumni make 30 percent less than their male peers. In their early 20s, Ivy League women graduate with higher GPAs and start at similar salaries. But somewhere between age 26 and 34, their male classmates advance professionally at a pace they don’t match.

How The Fast-Food Chain Led By Trump’s Labor Nominee Stiffed Workers Again And Again

Source: Dave Jamieson, The Huffington Post

Managers at a Hardee’s restaurant in Alabama scrubbed workers’ hours from the logbooks in order to avoid paying them overtime. Hardee’s workers in Pennsylvania were required to pay 10 cents per hour for the privilege of wearing a Hardee’s uniform. Workers at a Georgia Hardee’s were told to clock out and sit in the parking lot when business slowed down. Managers at a Hardee’s in Missouri had money deducted from their paychecks whenever the cash register came up short. Adult workers at a Hardee’s restaurant in Iowa were paid a “sub-minimum wage.” In each of those cases, Labor Department investigators found that Hardee’s restaurants had violated federal wage-and-hour regulations and workers were entitled to thousands of dollars in backpay.

February 3, 2017

Minimum-Wage Increases May Deliver the Best Wage Growth In Eight Years

Source: Eric Morath, The Wall Street Journal

A wave of minimum-wage increases to start the year could mean Friday’s jobs will show hourly earnings growth reached a new postrecession peak in January. Millions of workers earning at or near the minimum wage received a mandated raise in 19 states in their first January paychecks–ranging from a $1.95 an hour increase in Arizona to an extra nickel an hour in Florida and Missouri–and that could push overall hourly earnings growth, from a year earlier, above 3% for the first time since early 2009.

Trump just signed an order that could roll back a rule intended to protect Main Street's retirement money

Source: Rachael Levy, Business Insider

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren took aim at the executive order, saying it would "make it easier for investment advisers to cheat you out of your retirement savings." Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president at AARP, a nonprofit representing retirees with nearly 38 million members, said in a statement, "For many Americans, today's executive order means they will continue to get conflicted financial advice that costs more and reduces what they are able to save for retirement."

February 2, 2017

U.S. labor market tightening, productivity still weak

Source: Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to tightening labor market conditions that should support the economy this year. Other data on Thursday showed worker productivity slowing in the fourth quarter, which economists said suggested companies would need to keep hiring to increase output.

Labor Department Employees Revolt

Source: Hamilton Nolan, Deadspin

You can now add the Labor Department to the growing list of US government agencies where workers are speaking out against their new leadership.

February 1, 2017

Many possible factors led to racial discrimination case against Dept. of Corrections, advocate says

Source: Carrie Salls, PennRecord

Any number of factors could have played into the alleged racial discrimination that resulted in a former Pennsylvania Department of Corrections director of equal employment opportunity’s decision to file a lawsuit against the department and individual defendants, according to Workplace Fairness senior adviser Paula Brantner.

Obama’s Protections for L.G.B.T. Workers Will Remain Under Trump

Source: Jeremy W. Peters, The New York Times

The White House said on Monday that President Trump would leave in place a 2014 Obama administration order that created new workplace protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. In a statement issued in response to growing questions about whether Mr. Trump would reverse the Obama order, the White House said the president was proud to embrace gay rights.

Gorsuch Would Bring Conservative Bent to Labor Cases

Source: Chris Opfer and Jay-Anne B. Casuga, Bloomberg BNA

Judge Neil Gorsuch, who is said to be on President Donald Trump’s short list for the U.S. Supreme Court, is a reliable conservative who could have a big say on some hot-button labor and employment questions.

January 31, 2017

Can Labor Fight Back?

Source: Justin Miller, The American Prospect

As the former union bastions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin flipped from blue to red on election night, with votes rolling in for a billionaire real-estate mogul with a cheap populist varnish, the once-mighty American labor movement saw its life flash before its eyes. When the Democrats’ Electoral College firewall collapsed, so too did the last line of political defense between a vulnerable labor movement and a Republican Party that has become even more uniformly opposed to unions and workers’ rights since 2006—the last time the GOP had unified control of the federal government. The impending GOP attack on organized labor and workers will have multiple fronts: executive action, legislation, court rulings—and with Republicans in control of more than half the states.

Communications Union Escalates Effort to Organize Bank Staff

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

The Communications Workers of America, undeterred by new threats to unions’ funds and clout, is pressing ahead with its plan to organize the retail banking industry with the belief that recent rage at banks can help force the virtually union-free sector to negotiate. Now the union has begun training bank employees for the next phase of its campaign, which will start this year: signing up co-workers on union cards and publicly demanding the companies recognize them and bargain with them. By giving workers a voice in shaping sales policies that won’t require them to pitch customers unwanted financial products, or pressure them to make bad sales in order to hit unreasonable goals, the CWA envisions a loftier dividend of gaining greater social sway by policing banks from within.

January 30, 2017

Connecticut Democrats Push for $15 Hourly Minimum Wage

Source: Joseph De Avila, The Wall Street Journal

Democratic lawmakers in Connecticut are pushing to raise the state’s hourly minimum wage to $15, but they face a tougher fight to get it through as the state Senate is now evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. The state’s minimum wage, currently $10.10 an hour, has increased for each of the past four years. Democrats say a more reasonable entry-level wage that will pay for housing and food in the state is closer to $19 an hour.

Labor Secretary Nominee's Company Outsourced Jobs

Source: Laurie Kellman and Jeff Horwitz, Associated Press

The fast-food empire run by President Donald Trump's pick for Labor secretary outsourced its technology department to the Philippines, a move that runs counter to Trump's mantra to keep jobs in the United States. A filing with the Department of Labor and Trump's criticism of outsourcing could be raised at Andrew Puzder's confirmation hearing, with Democrats questioning how well he can advocate for workers.

January 27, 2017

The number of US women taking maternity leave isn’t increasing — and Trump won’t fix that

Source: Sarah Frostenson, Vox

At the behest of his daughter Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump has promised a paid national maternity leave program that provides six weeks of paid leave to all new mothers. The proposal is currently estimated to cost $300 billion, and Trump transition officials told CNN they planned to pay for it by pushing through a series of broader tax reforms. But a new study from Ohio State University indicates that national paid family leave might not actually lead to more women taking time off work after childbirth. That’s because even as paid leave has become more available in the past 20 years, the total number of women taking maternity leave has scarcely increased.

NLRB Orders Union Elections for Yale Graduate Students

Source: Associated Press, Associated Press

The National Labor Relations Board has granted petitions for graduate students in nine departments at Yale University to vote on whether they want union representation. The order Wednesday from the NLRB regional director in Boston calls for nine separate elections.

January 26, 2017

Trump Freezes Overtime, Pay Data Regulations

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg BNA

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus Jan. 20 instructed federal agencies to freeze all pending regulations, a move that seems to include a number of labor and employment initiatives that were in the works under the Obama administration.

The workforce shortage has reached long-term care. We should act.

Source: Robert Espinoza, The Hill

In Minnesota, the vacancy rate for personal care aides has reached 14 percent, forcing families with ailing members to rely on each other, even quitting their jobs to make support possible. In Northwest Michigan, the Area Agency on Aging reports a growing waitlist of people in need of home care workers. In Wisconsin, reports depict a shortage that extends beyond paid caregivers to nurses, hospital-based dieticians, and surgical technicians. Experts predicted an eventual crisis of workforce shortages in health care and long-term care. Now the effects are all around us. We need bold ideas and the dedication of our country’s most creative policy experts in aging, disability rights and the workforce. Groups such as AARP and Caring Across Generations are tackling family caregiving and the role of paid caregivers in their national initiatives.

January 25, 2017

Force Workers to Watch Anti-Government Propaganda at Work? Trump’s Labor Nominee Says Yes

Source: Spencer Woodman

On February 2, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hold confirmation hearings for Andrew Puzder, Donald Trump’s choice to head the Department of Labor. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which owns Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast food restaurants and employs thousands of workers across the country. Throughout his career, he has been an outspoken critic of labor regulations and government programs that provide services to the poor. But lately, Puzder has also backed lobbying tactics that extended beyond politics as usual: until recently, the multi-millionaire CEO belonged to the Job Creators Network, or JCN, a group that helps corporations push anti-regulation messages on employees at work in order to influence their voting preferences, a practice the organization calls “Employer to Employee” (E2E) policy education.

H-1B Visas: How Donald Trump Could Change America’s Skilled Worker Visa Rules

Source: Newley Purnell, The Wall Street Journal

During his campaign, President Donald Trump assailed a skilled-worker visa program used to send foreigners to the U.S., and in his inaugural speech Friday he said the country would “follow two simple rules; buy American and hire American.” Indian outsourcing firms are already preparing for potential changes to visa rules, which could present a challenge because they send thousands of workers to the U.S. every year via the H-1B program.

January 24, 2017

Trump freezes hiring of many federal workers

Source: Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

Trump instituted a government-wide hiring freeze Monday, signing an executive order that he said would affect all employees “except for the military.” Trump had pledged to halt government hiring as part of his campaign’s “Contract with the American Voter,” which he framed as part of a larger effort to “clean up corruption and special interest in Washington D.C.” That campaign plan, however, also included exemptions for public safety and public health. The move brought sparked an immediate outcry from federal employee union officials and some public service advocates.

These Cities Are at the Forefront of the Next Big Labor Struggle: the Fight for a Fair Workweek

Source: Peter Moskowitz, The Nation

The fight for a humane work schedule has a long history in the struggle for workers’ rights in this country. Over the last several decades, as union membership has declined, and retail work has largely replaced manufacturing jobs, a different kind of scheduling problem has emerged: These days, most retail work is part-time, with a process known as “just-in-time” scheduling often dictating the hours. For low-wage workers, this means that erratic schedules, inconsistent hours, and short notice of scheduling changes are the new normal. New fair-workweek laws are hoping to change that by forcing employers to give workers more consistent and reliable schedules.

January 23, 2017

Do Regulations Really Kill Jobs?

Source: Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

Job loss and creation is also a normal part of any economy; some companies go out of business because their goods or services are no longer in demand, while other jobs are created as new companies emerge to fill new demands. This is not the fault of regulations, but is rather a result of business conditions, Coglianese said. That doesn’t mean companies don’t try to blame regulations for their failures. A well-known case of a copper smelter outside of Seattle highlights this point. The company, ASARCO, complained that the smelter closed because of regulations, but the factory actually went out of business before the regulations were implemented, Coglianese said.

Tech’s Gender Pay Gap Hits Younger Women Hardest

Source: David Z. Morris, Fortune

The salary database Comparably has released a new study exploring the pay gap between men and women in the tech industry. Among its most interesting findings is that the gap is largest for women early in their careers, with women under 25 earning on average 29% less than men their age, while the gap drops to only 5% for workers over 50. The study adds to similar recent results published by Glassdoor, who found last November that the average female programmer made nearly 30% less than her male counterpart.

January 20, 2017

Hard to Show Discrimination When Visa Holders Replace U.S. Workers

Source: Jay-Anne B. Casuga, Bloomberg BNA

Laid off U.S. workers whose jobs are outsourced to contractors that employ individuals with temporary work visas may face a battle if they try to sue their former employers for discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Labor Department: Metro union had ‘alternate, secret’ policies for election eligibility

Source: Faiz Siddiqui, The Washington Post

The U.S. Department of Labor asked a federal judge this month to order new officer elections for the largest union representing Metro workers, arguing the Dec. 2, 2015 vote was illegitimate because the union bent the rules, and the union’s International chapter had failed to decide whether a re-vote was warranted.

January 19, 2017

America’s Great Working-Class Colleges

Source: David Leonhardt, The New York Times

To take just one encouraging statistic: At City College, in Manhattan, 76 percent of students who enrolled in the late 1990s and came from families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution have ended up in the top three-fifths of the distribution. These students entered college poor. They left on their way to the middle class and often the upper middle class.

Obama’s orders protecting federal contract workers face reversal by Trump

Source: Joe Davidson, The Washington Post

President Obama has used his pen to improve the lot of individual federal contract workers and shape the balance between contractors and government employees. Those same executive orders and presidential memorandums could be wiped out by the stroke of another pen, Donald Trump’s. In a 100-day action plan in his “Contract with the American Voter,” Trump promised to “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama.” The 100-day clock starts Friday with Trump’s inauguration. We don’t know what’s on the chopping block, but trade associations are willing to show him what to ax.

January 18, 2017

Labor Attorneys Plot Response to Trump, Puzder

Source: Ben Penn, Bloomberg BNA

Some employment attorneys woke up Nov. 9 fearing they’d soon be losing the Labor Department as a dependable ally in wage-and-hour enforcement. And they wasted no time planning a response strategy.

Will States Take Up the Mantle of Worker Protection?

Source: Bourree Lam, The Atlantic

States that have the manpower can be very effective in helping workers recover lost wages. One area where state action may prove effective is wage theft, which affects both white-collar and low-wage workers. Workers lose out on wages for work they’ve done in a variety of ways, such as when employers don’t pay overtime to those legally entitled to it, or force workers to work off the clock, or collude to keep pay down.

Democrats Want to Revive Obama’s Overtime Rule State by State

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

With President Barack Obama’s federal overtime-pay overhaul likely to die either in court or under Republican Donald Trump, some legislators are trying to replicate it at the state level. Democrats in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Wisconsin and Michigan said they plan to introduce bills modeled on Obama’s reform, which would have made millions more white-collar workers eligible for overtime. More are likely to follow, said Sam Munger, a senior adviser for the State Innovation Exchange, which promotes progressive legislation.

January 17, 2017

Epic Systems employee case to be heard by U.S. Supreme Court

Source: SAM HANANEL, Associated Press

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether employers can require workers to sign arbitration agreements that prevent them from pursuing group claims in court, including a case involving Verona-based Epic Systems. The justices have agreed to consider an issue affecting millions of workers who have signed forms waiving rights to bring class-action lawsuits over unpaid overtime, wage disputes and other workplace clashes. Businesses have increasingly used the agreements to limit exposure to large damage awards.

On the Trail: When right to work comes, can Missouri's unions adapt?

Source: Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It’s clear that some unions do a lot better at motivating their covered members to pay their dues than in other cases. Given the political head winds right now, every union out there facing the threat of a right to work law should be sending staff and calling up those unions that do a good job of getting their members motivated and excited to contribute to the organization that provides their representation.

The Revolt of Working Parents

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell, The Atlantic

These are just a few phrases working mothers reported hearing from their supervisors when discussing promotions or demotions, according to recent court filings. The subtle—and sometimes overt—perception illustrated by these statements—that mothers are less devoted to their jobs than childless workers—has been dubbed “the Maternal Wall” or “the New Glass Ceiling.” This has led to a wave of claims of gender discrimination based on parental responsibilities, which now make up a growing number of lawsuits against American employers.

January 16, 2017

Hidden Figures and the Ambitious Working Mother

Source: Stacia L. Brown, The New Republic

Challenged at work, supported at home, the trio of NASA mathematicians are a bold representation of cooperative black domestic life.

Justices Will Hear Challenges to Mandatory Employee Arbitration

Source: Adam Liptak, The New York Times

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide whether companies can use employment contracts to prohibit workers from banding together to take legal action over workplace issues. The court accepted three cases on the subject. They follow a series of Supreme Court decisions endorsing similar provisions, generally in contracts with consumers. The question for the justices in the new cases is whether the same principles apply to employment contracts.

Workers Say Andrew Puzder Is ‘Not the One to Protect’ Them, but He’s Been Chosen To

Source: Jodi Kantor and Jennifer Medina, The New York Times

His nomination is moving slowly, with confirmation hearings pushed back indefinitely, allowing Democrats and labor advocates to prepare a drumbeat of questions: Can the head of a company accused of shortchanging workers serve as their champion? Does Mr. Puzder want to lead the Labor Department, or dismantle it? Will he enforce rules his company has been accused of violating? How will Mr. Trump make good on his vision of capitalism that is unfettered by regulations, yet also helps those left behind?

January 13, 2017

Unions, Companies Clash Over Proposed OSHA Hearing Loss Rule

Source: Bruce Rolfsen, Bloomberg BNA

Union and industry representatives are raising their voices over OSHA’s proposal to revise its rule for whether an employee’s hearing loss should be considered job-related.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and labor-related organizations called the possible change a “clarification” of existing requirements.

“The proposed change will clarify that hearing loss must be recorded if work has contributed to it in any way, even if work is not the predominant or substantial contributor,” the Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund of North America told OSHA.

How to Train a Worker

Source: Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

In an economy in which automation and globalization are rapidly changing and even eliminating certain jobs, American workers and companies might come to see education not as a life-stage, but as a way of living. There’s just one problem with government-run retraining programs. They don’t really work. The U.S. government has the money to retrain workers, but not the curriculum. Companies have the expertise to teach relevant skills, but won’t spend the money. So why not bring them together to create a government-backed corporate retraining program, one in which Washington pays companies for only those curricula that raise workers’ wages?

Fast-food workers protest Trump's labor secretary nominee

Source: Lisa Baertlein and Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters

The union-backed "Fight for $15" movement protested at Carl's Jr and Hardee's restaurants on Thursday in a bid to stop the chains' head, a vocal opponent of minimum wage increases and "overregulation," from becoming U.S. labor secretary. Senate leadership has pushed back the confirmation hearing of Andrew Puzder to February from a tentative date of Jan. 17. Puzder has spoken against efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 and is widely expected to roll back policies such as those aimed at curbing unpaid overtime and improving worker safety. The restaurant industry is the biggest U.S. employer of minimum wage workers, and CKE's restaurants, like many others, have been cited or sued for violating wage and safety rules.

January 12, 2017

Retail Unions, Workers Face ‘Precarious’ Times

Source: Jaclyn Diaz, Bloomberg BNA

Retail workers and the unions that represent them should be on alert after the recent announcement of hundreds of Macy’s, Kmart and Sears stores closing, a labor professor told Bloomberg BNA. The growth of e-commerce, namely, online retailers such as Amazon, has a hand in pushing out traditional department stores and their workers. While the retail unions should be able to maintain the current level of job standards for their workers, it isn’t certain that will last.

Wells Fargo overhauls pay plan for bank branch employees

Source: The Associated Press, Associated Press

Wells Fargo is completely restructuring how it pays tellers and other bank branch employees after a scandal over its aggressive sales practices. Employees will no longer get incentives for opening accounts or meeting sales goals. They will instead receive part of their overall salary based on how the products they sell are used. Accounts that are used frequently will help an employee's pay, while idle accounts will not be a factor. And employees will receive more of their overall compensation as a base salary, not incentives and bonuses.

Labor Department aims to protect healthcare workers

Source: Tim Devaney, The Hill

The Department of Labor will protect healthcare professionals from workplace violence. Healthcare and social workers face a “substantially higher” rate of workplace violence than is common in other industries, said David Michaels, who runs the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is unclear whether the development of OSHA’s workplace violence standard will continue under the Trump administration.

January 11, 2017

Trump Labor pick Puzder's hearing could be delayed until February

Source: Jacob Pramuk, CNBC

Donald Trump's Labor Secretary choice Andy Puzder may not face the Senate until February as lawmakers shuffle the schedule for some key appointee hearings. Puzder, chief executive of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's parent CKE Restaurants, was originally scheduled to testify on Jan. 17 before the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions, which is chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. Puzder's hearing will be moved and may not happen until next month after Trump Education Secretary pick Betsy DeVos' hearing was delayed to the same day, an Alexander aide said.

Poverty, economic inequality are big concerns for US mayors

Source: Andrew Ryan, Boston Globe

Mayors across the United States are increasingly focused on poverty and economic inequality and less preoccupied with city finances, according to Boston University’s annual survey of more than 100 sitting mayors. Mayors are troubled by the lack of job opportunities for the middle class — particularly for their constituents without college degrees. They also expressed concern about economic challenges faced by constituents lacking access to public transportation and about persistent disparities in wealth that often break along racial lines.

Repealing Obamacare Could Kill Jobs

Source: Vann R. Newkirk II, The Atlantic

A study by Laurel Lucia and Ken Jacobs at the University of California, Berkeley, considered the hypothetical effects in California of a law similar to H.R. 3762, a Congress-passed measure for ACA repeal that President Obama vetoed in 2015. Lucia’s and Jacobs’s work suggests that after the two-year sunset of the insurance and subsidy expansions, and with no replacement in place, such a bill would cost California over 200,000 jobs and over $20 billion in total gross domestic product. Most of these losses would occur within the health industry itself, but would also happen in other sectors, like the food and transportation sectors that provide vital services for hospitals.

January 10, 2017

Fear among federal workers flourishes as they face a hostile Trump presidency

Source: Petula Dvorak, The Washington Post

The fear in the federal workforce is palpable. The country’s 2.1 million federal employees have survived decades of government reinvention and massive outsourcing to contractors. But with the inauguration of Donald Trump less than two weeks away, this threat feels different. All over the nation’s capital, panicked job searches are underway among its legions of badge-wearing, Metro commuting, “I-can’t-talk-to-you-I-work-for-the-government” federal workers. Federal workers have good reason to be worried. Trump is picking people to head government agencies they want to dismantle.

Could Trump’s presidency upend the gig economy and those who rely on it?

Source: Micha Kaufman, The Hill

Though President-elect Trump touted his own business expertise as the basis for his campaign, his administration stands as a threat to many of today’s entrepreneurs, independent workers and freelancers. There’s still uncertainty around how Trump’s policies will affect certain aspects of business, but there are three issues in particular that could be detrimental to today’s growing entrepreneurial community. As we enter the next four years of Trump’s presidency, it will be important to keep an eye on how these issues develop.

Union workers decry Kentucky right-to-work legislation in Capitol building protest

Source: Matthew Rand, WLKY Louisiana

It was an unprecedented week in Frankfort, as Republicans now in control of both the state House and Senate delivered on a number of conservative campaign promises, including right to work. Chanting "union power," union workers packed the state Capitol building to oppose the right-to-work bill, which will ban employers from forcing workers to pay mandatory union dues. Supporters say the bill will attract much-needed jobs to the state, but opponents say it is designed to weaken unions and harm working families.

January 9, 2017

For some workers, pay raise comes with loss of cheap child care

Source: Natalie Kitroeff, Los Angeles Times

When the minimum wage in California rose to $10.50 an hour Jan. 1, more than a million people got a raise. But for an untold number of families across the state, that pay bump could price them out of child care. This year, for the first time, two parents working full time at minimum wage jobs, with one child, will be considered too well off to qualify for state subsidies for day care and preschool.

Inequality or middle incomes: which matters more?

Source: The Economist

A puzzle exists where America’s economics meet its politics. Income inequality is higher than in other rich countries, and the recent election was interpreted by many as the revenge of the left-behind, who found their champion in Donald Trump. Yet the candidate who made income inequality a campaign theme, wanted higher taxes on the rich and promised more financial regulation lost. Since the election, Mr. Trump has nominated a cabinet with a combined net worth of over $6bn, by one estimate. He has invited the bosses of big corporations to advise him on economic policy. And he has filled key White House posts with Goldman Sachs alumni. The riches of top earners do not seem to bother voters nearly as much as many on the left would like them to.

Wells Fargo Investigation Hampered by Outside Attorney Citing a Trump Tie, Labor Department Claims

Source: Emily Glazer, The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Department of Labor claims an attorney representing Wells Fargo & Co. tried to hamper an investigation into the bank’s treatment of employees and in doing so cited a possible role in the coming Trump administration, according to a letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The Labor Department probe is focused on whether Wells Fargo skirted overtime rules, among other potential labor issues, in a bid to meet lofty sales goals.

January 6, 2017

New minimum wage hikes help more people than they harm

Source: Evan Kraft, The Hill

On Jan. 1, the legal minimum wage increased in no less than 19 states. After the changes, some 29 states have minimum wages higher than the federal level. The effects of an increased minimum wage seem easy to predict. A minimum wage is a price floor. If set too high, it should lead to a situation of excess supply. Result — higher wages for some, unemployment for others. However, at least since Alan Krueger and David Card’s pioneering study of the effects of wage increases on fast food workers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, published in 1994, there has been an increasing body of evidence suggesting that increased minimum wages do not result in increased unemployment.

Why Men Don’t Want the Jobs Done Mostly by Women

Source: Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times

It hasn’t been a great time to be a man without a job. The jobs that have been disappearing, like a machine operator, are predominantly those that men do. The occupations that are growing, like health aide, employ mostly women. One solution is for the men who have lost jobs in factories to become health aides. But while more than a fifth of American men aren’t working, they aren’t running to these new service-sector jobs. Why? They require very different skills, and pay a lot less. They’re also seen as women’s work, which has always been devalued in the American labor market.

U.S. Postal Service Drops Service at Staples Amid Union Pressure

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

Following union-backed boycotts and an adverse labor board ruling, the United States Postal Service has agreed to curb a controversial arrangement allowing private employees to provide its services at Staples Inc. stores. USPS spokeswoman Darlene Casey told Bloomberg that the Postal Service would end its relationship with Staples in order to comply with a National Labor Relations Board judge’s ruling. The cancellation is a coup for the Postal Service’s largest union.

January 5, 2017

Obama administration moves against federal contractors that owed back pay to workers

Source: Joe Davidson, The Washington Post

How the dealmaking Trump crowd will deal with federal contractors remains to be seen, but the Obama administration is making a statement during its final weeks in office. In the waning days of December, the Labor Department took strong action against two companies that it said has cheated workers.

Manufacturer Not Insulated From Charges It Underpaid Latina Supervisor

Source: Kevin McGowan, Bloomberg BNA

A New Mexico insulation manufacturer will pay $60,000 to settle charges lodged by the EEOC that it unlawfully discriminated against a Hispanic female supervisor by paying her less than a male employee doing the same job and by barring her from speaking Spanish on the job. The Dec. 30 settlement with Kevothermal LLC is notable because it combines two of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s top enforcement priorities: combating the gender pay gap and preventing national origin discrimination.

Gender pay gap halves for millennials, but will widen with age: study

Source: Reuters, Reuters

The pay gap between men and women in their 20s has halved in a generation to 5 percent but will widen as the same adults grow older, according to analysis by a British think-tank. The analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics by the Resolution Foundation found the gender pay gap has closed for every generation of women since those born between 1911 and 1925. However, the pay gap begins to widen as women begin to enter their 30s and early 40s when they begin to have children and begin to take time off work, after which it continues for decades, the study said.

January 4, 2017

Trump sees Labor makeover

Source: Peter Schroeder, The Hill

After years of high-profile protests for a higher national minimum wage, Trump has selected Andrew Puzder, the man in charge of running fast food chains such as Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., to run the Labor Department. Under President Obama, the Labor Department has pushed forward a number of initiatives aimed at empowering workers, from raising the minimum wage and providing overtime pay to more workers, to family leave and healthcare. With Puzder and a business-friendly administration in charge, business groups see a chance to go in a dramatically different direction.

One Proven Way Women Can Get a Higher Salary

Source: Kirsty Wareing, Time

Published in The European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, the research indicates that dominant and self-assured women are paid (on average) more than those who don’t allow themselves to speak their mind. With that encouragement, though, comes yet more confirmation that the gender pay gap persists. Dominant women are still not always paid their worth compared to male colleagues, while women who don’t speak up are punished with smaller salaries.

'It's important for women to stand up and fight back': Gretchen Carlson talks about the need to empower women on Today in triumphant return to TV, six months after $20m Fox News sex suit

Source: Chris Spargo, The Daily Mail

Carlson also revealed in that Time interview that she will be testifying in front of Congress this year about forced arbitration in employee contracts, something that affected her at Fox and made it more difficult for her to file a lawsuit against the network and her alleged harasser, Ailes. 'A lot of people that I’ve heard from [about being unfairly dismissed] find themselves in the middle of either legal action or, more likely, forced arbitration,' said Carlson. 'It is a huge problem. Because it’s secret. And it plays into why we think that we’ve come so far in society and we probably really haven’t–because we don’t hear about it.' She then added: 'The intent of the Supreme Court when they ruled on arbitration was to unclog the courts. It was not to put issues of discrimination and harassment into covert operations.'

January 3, 2017

Big Growth in Tiny Businesses

Source: Jeffrey Sparshot, The Wall Street Journal

A tiny segment of U.S. manufacturing appears to be thriving—the one with no employees. A mix of technology, economic necessity and adventure is leading more Americans to found companies that plan to stay very small. That entrepreneurial spark also highlights challenges facing the economy, from difficulty re-entering the job market to the diminishing role of fast-growing young firms.

New York’s Teamsters May Have Their Pensions Cut. What Went Wrong?

Source: Gretchen Morgenson, The New York Times

As troubled pension funds go, the New York State Teamsters Conference Pension and Retirement Fund, with some $1.3 billion in assets, is by no means the largest. Neither is it in the direst financial shape, even though just 44.8 percent of its obligations are funded. But given that participants in this fund may face benefits cuts of at least 20 percent, learning what went wrong could be instructive not only for other imperiled retirement funds but also for taxpayers who may have to cover the shortfalls.

Deal With Income Inequality to Make America Great Again

Source: Steven Pressman, Newsweek

In a recent issue of The Economist, President Barack Obama set out four major economic issues that his successor must tackle. As he put it: “… restoring faith in an economy where hardworking Americans can get ahead requires addressing four major structural challenges: boosting productivity growth, combating rising inequality, ensuring that everyone who wants a job can get one and building a resilient economy that’s primed for future growth.” It’s hard to quibble with the items on the president’s list. Slow productivity growth, rising inequality, inadequate employment and the lack of sustainable economic growth all are important problems that a President Trump will have to face.

January 2, 2017

19 States Increase Minimum Wage at the Start of 2017

Source: Michael Edison Hayden, ABC News

Nineteen states are raising the minimum wage today in a shift that stands to lift the income of millions of workers. The minimum wage will be increased in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington to start 2017. Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Maryland will see wage increases in their states later on this year.

How Dwindling Union Power Helped Usher In Trump

Source: Alan Draper, The American Prospect

Donald Trump swept the Rust Belt in part because labor unions are in retreat, a trend that started long before Election Day.

Growing a Different Apple

Source: Vindu Goel, The New York Times

Founded in 2014 by three former senior managers from Apple’s iPod and iPhone groups, Pearl has tried to replicate what its leaders view as the best parts of Apple’s culture, like its fanatical dedication to quality and beautiful design. But the founders also consciously rejected some of the less appealing aspects of life at Apple, like its legendary secrecy and top-down management style. The start-up, which makes high-tech accessories for cars, holds weekly meetings with its entire staff. Managers brief them on coming products, company finances, technical problems, even the presentations made to the board.