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

March 27, 2017

The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death

Source: Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

Last September, Long-time Lyft driver and mentor, Mary, was nine months pregnant when she picked up a passenger the night of July 21st,” the post began. “About a week away from her due date, Mary decided to drive for a few hours after a day of mentoring.” You can guess what happened next. Mary’s story looks different to different people. Within the ghoulishly cheerful Lyft public-relations machinery, Mary is an exemplar of hard work and dedication—the latter being, perhaps, hard to come by in a company that refuses to classify its drivers as employees. Mary’s entrepreneurial spirit—taking ride requests while she was in labor!—is an “exciting” example of how seamless and flexible app-based employment can be. Look at that hustle! Lyft does not provide its drivers paid maternity leave or health insurance. Perhaps, as Lyft suggests, Mary kept accepting riders while experiencing contractions because “she was still a week away from her due date,” or “she didn’t believe she was going into labor yet.” Or maybe Mary kept accepting riders because the gig economy has further normalized the circumstances in which earning an extra eleven dollars can feel more important than seeking out the urgent medical care that these quasi-employers do not sponsor.

How to Make Employment Fair in an Age of Contracting and Temp Work

Source: David Weil, Harvard Business Review

And while it’s true that low wage workers — an estimated 29 million people in just 10 industries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Chief Economist — have been hard hit by the consequences of fissuring for some time, those with college and graduate educations, even in professions once regarded as protected from the ups and downs of churning labor markets, are being affected as well.

March 24, 2017

Republicans Just Made It Easier For Employers To Hide Workplace Injuries

Source: Dave Jamieson, The Huffington Post

The Republican-led Congress moved to dismantle yet another corporate regulation on Wednesday, in a move that safety experts say will make it easier for employers to hide serious workplace injuries from the government. The Senate voted 50-48 to strike down a rule issued late in Barack Obama’s presidency that requires large employers to keep an ongoing record of health and safety incidents. The Obama administration issued the rule in an effort to solidify what it considered long-standing policy at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. By doing away with the rule, Republicans are effectively cutting down the length of time that employers in dangerous industries are required to keep injury records ― from five years to just six months. They also say the change gives unscrupulous employers little incentive to keep an accurate log of injuries

Acosta Unsure About Using Pay Level for Overtime Eligibility Chris Opfer

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg BNA

The man tapped to run the Labor Department isn’t sure the agency should be using workers’ pay levels to determine if they’re automatically eligible for overtime compensation. An Obama administration rule to make some 4 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay—by doubling the salary threshold for automatic eligibility to $47,500—is on hold, pending federal litigation in Texas. Although the rule has sparked a debate over where to set the salary threshold, labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta noted that the judge in that case has raised questions about whether the DOL should instead focus on the actual duties workers perform.

March 23, 2017

The Not-So-Creepy Reason More Bosses Are Tracking Employees

Source: Kelsey Gee, The Wall Street Journal

Social-media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter aren’t the only ones tracking how people connect and share with their peers. Employers are doing it too. Companies including Boston Consulting Group, and Microsoft Corp. are variously mining employees’ emails, chat logs, and tracking face-to-face interactions to get a better grasp on how information travels among employees.

Trump Labor nominee Acosta frustrates Democrats by dodging questions at confirmation hearing

Source: Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times

President Donald Trump’s second nominee for Labor secretary, law school dean R. Alexander Acosta, frustrated Democrats at his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday by dodging questions about how he would handle some key workplace rules enacted by the Obama administration.

March 22, 2017

Sexual-Harassment Claims Against a ‘She-E.O.’

Source: Noreen Malone, New York Magazine

Miki Agrawal, the co-founder of Thinx — a company that makes “period underwear” — doesn’t think much of boundaries. According to a complaint brought by Chelsea Leibow, the 26-year-old former head of public relations at the company, describes a culture of fear and a pattern of ageism, in which members of the mostly female, mostly 20-something staff were routinely referred to as “children,” with the few employees in their 30s tagged “nannies.” The filing — which also names the company’s COO and CFO, for their failure to address repeated complaints about Agrawal’s behavior — comes on the heels, just over a week ago, of Agrawal’s leaving from her post as CEO and the publication of an article in Racked that made clear that, despite the company’s feminist branding and mission, the women who worked there felt exploited by low pay and substandard benefits.

Questions linger over whether labor nominee Alex Acosta will stand up for workers

Source: Jonnelle Marte, The Washington Post

When President Trump announced that his new pick for labor secretary would be Alexander Acosta, a conservative law school dean with a deep background in public service, some career staffers at the Labor Department, Democrats and workers advocates breathed a sigh of relief. The former U.S. attorney had served on the National Labor Relations Board, which made him familiar with labor laws and put him in stark contrast with Trump’s first choice: Andrew Puzder, a vocal fast-food chief executive who opposed substantially raising the minimum wage and rules that would expand eligibility for overtime pay. But as Acosta’s Wednesday confirmation hearing approaches, some labor groups say questions remain about how much the more reserved dean — who “plays it close to the vest,” as one friend and colleague put it — will do to protect workers.

March 21, 2017

Employee burnout is becoming a huge problem in the American workforce

Source: Dan Schawbel, Quartz

While companies are posting record profits, Americans are working harder than ever before for a nominal wage increase. The national unemployment rate has been cut in half since 2010 and the economy is projected to grow by almost 50% between 2010 and 2020. Despite this positive outlook, employees are overworked, burned out, and dissatisfied. A recent study my firm conducted, in partnership with Kronos, found that burnout is responsible for up to half of all employee attrition. Employees are working more hours for no additional pay and as a result, they are searching for new jobs. Nearly all employers surveyed agree that improving retention is a critical priority yet many aren’t investing in solving the problem, even though it costs thousands of dollars to replace each employee lost.

Congress May Roll Back Injury Log Requirement, Endangering Workers

Source: David Michaels, Forbes

"Every regulation should have to pass a simple test: Does it make life better or safer for American workers?” Those words were delivered by President Donald J Trump last month as he signed an Executive Order on Regulatory Reform. Congress is poised to pass legislation that would undo the OSHA recordkeeping requirements that unquestionably make life safer for workers and help responsible employers. If President Trump signs this bill, injury recordkeeping will become, in effect, voluntary. More workers will be injured and responsible employers who choose to keep accurate records and are committed to worker safety will be hurt.

March 20, 2017

Sexual-Harassment Claims Against a ‘She-E.O.’

Source: Noreen Malone, New York Magazine

Miki Agrawal, the co-founder of Thinx — a company that makes “period underwear” — doesn’t think much of boundaries. According to a complaint brought by Chelsea Leibow, the 26-year-old former head of public relations at the company, describes a culture of fear and a pattern of ageism, in which members of the mostly female, mostly 20-something staff were routinely referred to as “children,” with the few employees in their 30s tagged “nannies.” The filing — which also names the company’s COO and CFO, for their failure to address repeated complaints about Agrawal’s behavior — comes on the heels, just over a week ago, of Agrawal’s leaving from her post as CEO and the publication of an article in Racked that made clear that, despite the company’s feminist branding and mission, the women who worked there felt exploited by low pay and substandard benefits.

Trump Budget Would Slash Worker Training And Safety

Source: Dave Jamieson, The Huffington Post

The austere budget proposed by President Donald Trump on Thursday would take an axe to worker training and safety programs, prompting Democrats to accuse the White House of reneging on its promises to workers. The Labor Department would be one of the top victims under the White House blueprint. The president is looking to slash the agency’s budget by 21 percent, from $12.2 billion this year to $9.6 billion next year.

A.I. Is Doing Legal Work. But It Won’t Replace Lawyers, Yet.

Source: Steve Lohr, The New York Times

Impressive advances in artificial intelligence technology tailored for legal work have led some lawyers to worry that their profession may be Silicon Valley’s next victim. But recent research and even the people working on the software meant to automate legal work say the adoption of A.I. in law firms will be a slow, task-by-task process. In other words, like it or not, a robot is not about to replace your lawyer. At least, not anytime soon.

March 17, 2017

Why Is Silicon Valley So Awful to Women?

Source: Liza Mundy, The Atlantic

The dozens of women I interviewed for this article love working in tech. They love the problem-solving, the camaraderie, the opportunity for swift advancement and high salaries, the fun of working with the technology itself. They appreciate their many male colleagues who are considerate and supportive. Yet all of them had stories about incidents that, no matter how quick or glancing, chipped away at their sense of belonging and expertise. Indeed, a recent survey called “Elephant in the Valley” found that nearly all of the 200-plus senior women in tech who responded had experienced sexist interactions. Succeeding in tech as a woman requires something more treacherous than the old adage about Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels. It’s more like doing everything backwards and in heels while some guy is trying to yank at your dress, and another is telling you that a woman can’t dance as well as a man, oh, and could you stop dancing for a moment and bring him something to drink?

Vegas Hotel Settles NLRB Complaint, Recognizes Union

Source: Jaclyn Diaz, Bloomberg BNA

Palace Station hotel and casino in Las Vegas agreed to recognize its workers’ union as part of its settlement of an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board March 14. Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165 expect to begin collective bargaining with the casino soon, the unions said in a statement March 14. The unions will bargain jointly with Station Casinos.

March 16, 2017

Undoing the voters’ will: Democratic measures to raise minimum wage are being met with court challenges

Source: Matthew Sheffield, Salon

Last November voters in four different states voted overwhelmingly in favor of citizen initiatives to increase the minimum wage that employers must pay their workers. Despite losing at the ballot box, however, local business associations in three of those states are looking for ways to stop the measures from going into full effect. In Arizona and Washington state, opponents of increasing the minimum wage are challenging the victorious initiatives in court. In Maine, business groups are pressing the state legislature to override one. Beyond trying to override the ballot votes, opponents of increased minimum wages have also begun trying to place restrictions on citizen initiatives.

Senate kills rule limiting drug testing for unemployment benefits

Source: Elana Schor, Politico

The Senate voted along party lines Tuesday to repeal an Obama-era regulation restricting the scope of drug testing that states could require for recipients of unemployment benefits. The measure overturning a Labor Department rule, which limited the industries for which states could mandate drug testing as a prerequisite for receiving unemployment benefits, passed 51-48. Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.

March 15, 2017

Worker Safety Rules Are Among Those Under Fire in Trump Era

Source: Barry Meier and Danielle Ivory , The New York Times

Even as the Labor Department awaits confirmation of a new secretary, officials say enforcement actions are moving forward against companies accused of violating workplace safety rules. There is just one issue: The public isn’t likely to know much about them. In a sharp break with the past, the department has stopped publicizing fines against companies. As of Monday, seven weeks after the inauguration of President Trump, the department had yet to post a single news release about an enforcement fine. By contrast, the Obama administration saw the announcements — essentially publicly shaming companies — as a major tool in its workplace safety enforcement.

Court: Discrimination Against Gay Workers Not Prohibited

Source: AP, Associated Press

In a setback for gay rights advocates hoping for an expansion of workplace discrimination protections, a federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled that employers aren't prohibited from discriminating against employees because of sexual orientation. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled 2-1 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on a variety of factors, doesn't protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

March 14, 2017

Learn Key Skills to Land Your Perfect Job with Expert Martin Yate & the Resources at the Workplace Fairness Career Center

Source: Ashley Dull, Badcredit.org

Today’s connected society has placed tons of information at your fingertips that can smooth your path throughout the job hunt, including a bounty of resources from Workplace Fairness.

Uber has produced 18 episodes of a podcast warning drivers about the dangers of joining a union

Source: Sarah Kessler, Quartz

By the time the Teamsters starts organizing Uber drivers in Seattle next month, the ride-sharing company will have already spent a year fighting the effort. The company has run advertisements against unionization in its app and on television, hosted meetings, and sent emails and phone calls to drivers. Its podcast for Seattle drivers, in which it hashes out arguments against joining a union, is already on its 18th episode.

Employees who decline genetic testing could face penalties under proposed bill

Source: Lena Sun, The Washington Post

Employers could impose hefty penalties on employees who decline to participate in genetic testing as part of workplace wellness programs if a bill approved by a U.S. House committee this week becomes law. In general, employers don't have that power under existing federal laws, which protect genetic privacy and nondiscrimination. But a bill passed Wednesday by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce would allow employers to get around those obstacles if the information is collected as part of a workplace wellness program.

March 13, 2017

Can you get fired for your political views? Know your rights.

Source: Christy Rakoczy, Mic

Standing up for your beliefs is important. But you need to be smart about how you express yourself at work because your boss could fire you for certain kinds of political activity.

Here’s How Gretchen Carlson Says the ‘Millions of Women’ Who Have Been Sexually Harassed Are Silenced

Source: Claire Landsbaum, New York Magazine

When former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit against former Fox CEO Roger Ailes, it was the beginning of the end of Ailes’s career at the network. Over the next few months, so many women came forward with allegations against Ailes that the Murdoch brothers eventually ousted him. The fact that Carlson sued Ailes — and not Fox News itself — allowed her to skirt the arbitration clause in her contract. The clause, which appears in many employment contracts across career fields and often takes the form of a few simple words, requires employees to settle disputes in front of a third-party “arbiter” instead of in court. Some clauses prevent employees from talking about the dispute, according to Time. Which means, in the case of sexual harassment, that other victims may never know they’re not alone.

Labor Pick Acosta Getting Wait-and-See Response From Senators

Source: Tyrone Richardson, Bloomberg BNA

Labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta hasn’t garnered the same criticism from lawmakers that his predecessor did before withdrawing from consideration. Several Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee told Bloomberg BNA March 9 that they’re not making an immediate decision on Acosta’s nomination. The confirmation hearing is set for March 15. This response is in stark contrast to several lawmakers’ public denouncement of President Donald Trump’s first choice, fast-food mogul Andy Puzder.

March 10, 2017

Leahy reintroduces bill to restore rights of Americans affected by forced arbitration

Source: Vermont Business Magazine

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday reintroduced legislation to restore the rights of Americans who too often are forced out of the courthouse and into mandatory arbitration in civil rights cases, employment disputes, and other lawsuits. Leahy was joined by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is the lead cosponsor of the legislation. A House companion bill was introduced by Congressman David Cicilline (D-R.I.). Leahy announced the reintroduction of his legislation at a Capitol Hill press conference featuring television journalist Gretchen Carlson, whose Fox News employment contract would have barred her from speaking publicly about her allegations of sexual harassment against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes.

Telemundo actors vote overwhelmingly to join SAG-AFTRA

Source: David Ng, Los Angeles Times

Actors at the Spanish-language TV network Telemundo have overwhelmingly voted to unionize with SAG-AFTRA, bringing to a close a protracted dispute between Hollywood’s largest union and NBCUniversal, which owns the network. SAG-AFTRA said Wednesday that 81% of eligible voters chose to unionize in a balloting process that began Feb. 7 and lasted four weeks. Telemundo is the largest employer of Spanish-language performers in the United States.

March 9, 2017

Fox Is Said to Settle With Former Contributor Over Sexual Assault Claims

Source: Emily Steel, The New York Times

Nearly eight months later, the company finds itself still dealing with fallout from that crisis. In late February, 21st Century Fox reached a settlement worth more than $2.5 million with a former Fox News contributor who reported that she was sexually assaulted by an executive at company headquarters two years ago, according to people briefed on the agreement.

Andy Puzder blames Democrats for collapse of his Labor secretary nomination

Source: Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times

Southern California fast-food executive Andy Puzder on Thursday blamed Democrats for the collapse of his nomination to be Labor secretary, even though he admitted he withdrew after being informed there was not enough support among Senate Republicans to confirm him.

March 8, 2017

Graduate workers at Columbia get OK from National Labor Relations Board to join union

Source: Ginger Adams Otis, New York Daily News

Graduate workers at Columbia University got a win Tuesday from the National Labor Relations Board in Brooklyn, which upheld their recent vote to join a union. Research assistants and teaching assistants at Columbia University cast ballots in December to become part of Graduate Workers of Columbia-United Auto Workers. In her Tuesday ruling, NLRB officer Rachel Mead Zweighaft said Columbia University failed to provide a legitimate claim for its objection to the vote result.

What the unemployment rate does – and doesn’t – say about the economy

Source: Drew Desilver, Pew Research Center

Every month, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a flood of data about employment and unemployment in the U.S. And every month, the lion’s share of the attention goes to one figure – the unemployment rate, which was a seasonally adjusted 4.8% in January. (The February report comes out on Friday.) But the unemployment rate is just one indicator of how the U.S. economy is doing, and it’s not always the best one. Simply being out of work isn’t enough for a person to be counted as unemployed; he or she also has to be available to work and actively looking for work (or on temporary layoff). In any given month, the unemployment rate can rise or fall based not just on how many people find or lose jobs, but on how many join or leave the active labor force.

March 7, 2017

Word on the Hill: Carlson to Push Forced Arbitration Clauses

Source: Alex Gangitano, Roll Call

Journalist Gretchen Carlson is on Capitol Hill today to push for legislation to stop the use of unfair forced arbitration clauses.

The former Fox News anchor is teaming up with Sens. Al Franken, D-Minn., Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., as well as three Democratic congressmen.

In October, Carlson said she would testify before Congress after the election about forced arbitration, which is when companies have employees sign away their rights to litigation and agree to settle employment disputes through arbitration.
In July, she sued Fox News’ former chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and later agreed to a $20 million settlement.

The news conference is in the Senate Visitors Center, Room 209-08, at 3 p.m.

The Future of the Department of Labor Under Trump

Source: Alana Semuels, The Atlantic

The Trump administration has pledged to help “forgotten” Americans, especially those in the working class. The president has targeted regulations on coal, hoping to resuscitate the industry, and tried to convince manufacturers to locate in the United States, which could create more jobs. But most workers aren’t in the coal or manufacturing industries, so another way to help the “forgotten” Americans may be to focus on improving the working lives of the more than 120 million other Americans who clock in to a job every day. One place to start that project is the Department of Labor, where 17,000 or so staffers and appointees administer and enforce laws protecting America’s workers.

March 6, 2017

Judge Gorsuch’s arbitration jurisprudence

Source: Edith Roberts, SCOTUSblog

Arbitration, which involves agreements between parties to settle disputes in a private forum rather than in court, might seem like a fairly dry area of the law. But recent Supreme Court rulings interpreting the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act have had significant implications in consumer protection, labor, and class action contexts. Justice Antonin Scalia was the prime mover in many of these cases, writing majority opinions in several 5-4 rulings that divided along ideological lines. These rulings, on balance, read the FAA as both trumping state consumer protection law and overriding the ability of class action plaintiffs to pursue collective lawsuits in the courts. Although the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, on which Judge Neil Gorsuch has served since 2006, does not see many arbitration cases, a look at the arbitration rulings Gorsuch has made there suggests that he is likely to continue the trend on the court in favor of FAA pre-emption.

Fear of Immigration Raids May Harm Workplace Rights

Source: Laura Francis, Bloomberg BNA

The Trump administration’s increased immigration enforcement could have an unintended consequence: reduced willingness to report workplace rights violations. Getting workers to come forward about workplace rights violations has “always been an issue,” Adrienne DerVartanian, director of immigration and labor rights at Farmworker Justice, told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 23. But the “current environment, with a real focus on immigration enforcement and raids,” has created an “increase in the level of fear and concerns,” she said. With the highest rates of wage and hour violations among undocumented immigrants—particularly women—employer threats of calls to Immigration and Customs Enforcement are “very strong,” Haeyoung Yoon, director of strategic partnerships at the National Employment Law Project, said Feb. 23.

March 3, 2017

Workers Are Working Longer — and Better

Source: John Hanc, The New York Times

Her perception that people are working longer (not necessarily because they have to, but because they want to) is backed up by data. According to the Pew Research Center, in the year 2000, just under 13 percent of Americans 65 and over reported being employed full or part time. By May 2016, that figure had jumped to 18.8 percent — meaning that nearly nine million Americans 65-plus were gainfully employed.

Labor Department proposes 60-day delay of retirement savings rule

Source: Jonnelle Marte, The Washington Post

The Labor Department on Wednesday announced a proposal to push back the implementation of a controversial retirement savings rule by 60 days, giving officials more time to determine whether the rule should be revised or eliminated. Without a delay, the fiduciary rule would take full effect April 10. But under the proposal, which will be officially published Thursday, the rule would not take full effect until June 9. The move comes after President Trump signed a memo last month asking the department to reevaluate the rule, which requires brokers working with retirement savers to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. By delaying the rule, the Labor Department is buying more time to comply with the president’s request to look into whether the rule harms consumers by limiting their investment options.

March 2, 2017

Tesla Engineer Sues Her Employer, Claiming 'Pervasive' Harassment, Inequality

Source: Janet Burns, Forbes

Tesla may be the latest firm in the "silicon sultan" generation to face charges of fostering a hostile atmosphere for women, according to an exclusive by The Guardian. Engineer AJ Vandermeyden has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the automaker. Vandermeyden told the Guardian that problems began in 2013 when she first joined Tesla's sales department, where she was denied rest breaks, meal periods, and overtime pay. She then rose to a manufacturing engineering post in its general assembly department, where she described being consistently and significantly outnumbered by, paid less than, and passed over for her male colleagues.

Sterling discrimination case highlights differences between arbitration, litigation

Source: Drew Harwell, The Washington Post

Wolf’s silence was mandated by the private arbitration. Unlike the legal system, where most court records are presumed to be public, sworn statements such as those filed by women in the Sterling case are almost always kept confidential.

March 1, 2017

Acosta Labor Department May Go Light on Litigation

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg BNA

The employer community has been expecting the Labor Department to take a more collaborative approach to enforcement of wage-and-hour, workplace safety and other laws since President Donald Trump was elected in November. There’s still not much information on how Acosta views big-ticket issues, such as a pending rule to make some 4 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay, but his prior government service and public statements suggest that the former prosecutor may look to ensure compliance without pursuing litigation.

Hundreds allege sex harassment, discrimination at Kay and Jared jewelry company

Source: Drew Harwell, The Washington Post

Hundreds of former employees of Sterling Jewelers, the multibillion-dollar conglomerate behind Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers, claim that its chief executive and other company leaders presided over a corporate culture that fostered rampant sexual harassment and discrimination. Declarations from roughly 250 women and men who worked at Sterling, filed as part of a private class-action arbitration case, allege that female employees at the company throughout the late 1990s and 2000s were routinely groped, demeaned and urged to sexually cater to their bosses to stay employed. Though women made up a large part of Sterling’s sales force, many said they felt they had little recourse with their mostly male management.

February 28, 2017

Working women see Acosta as Labor chief upgrade, but remain vigilant

Source: Liz Shuler, The Hill

As the secretary of Labor nominee, Andy Puzder was a credible threat to the America that Perkins envisioned and helped make real. Working women want equal pay and equal opportunity. We want respect on the job and at home, and a steady schedule that allows for child care and education. We want to be protected from violence and sexual harassment. We want to be judged for our skills and dedication. Finally, we want a Labor secretary who will stand and fight for us. Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s new nominee, is a vast improvement from Puzder. He has experience in public service and a deep knowledge of labor law. Our standard remains the same, however. Acosta must demonstrate his commitment to holding employers accountable, enforcing our rights and promoting equality in the workplace.

Uber is designed so that for one employee to get ahead, another must fail

Source: Alison Griswold , Quartz

A little more than a year later, Uber is learning corporate values aren’t so easy to retrofit. A cultural implosion took place on Feb. 19, when former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a horrifying account of harassment and systematic mistreatment by the company’s human resources department. But it had been a long time coming at a company that leaned into its brash reputation, disdained the status quo, and prized results, performance, and “hashtag winning”—to use another Travis-ism—over most all other matters.

February 27, 2017

Maryland paid sick leave bill clears House committee

Source: Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post

Workers at companies with 15 or more employees in Maryland moved a step closer to earning paid sick leave on Thursday when a bill was approved by a state legislative committee. The House Economic Matters Committee voted 14-9 to advance the measure, which provides a minimum of one hour of paid leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of seven full days per year for full-time workers. The bill passed in the House committee on Thursday is similar to the measure that was approved by the full House last year but did not advance in the Senate.

Acosta Labor Department May Go Light on Litigation

Source: Chris Opfer, Bloomberg BNA

Labor secretary nominee Alexander Acosta has shown an interest in enforcing laws without engaging in courtroom battles. That may signal a DOL that’s more palatable to employers if he’s confirmed to the post. The employer community has been expecting the Labor Department to take a more collaborative approach to enforcement of wage-and-hour, workplace safety and other laws since President Donald Trump was elected in November. There’s still not much information on how Acosta views big-ticket issues, such as a pending rule to make some 4 million workers newly eligible for overtime pay, but his prior government service and public statements suggest that the former prosecutor may look to ensure compliance without pursuing litigation.

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.