Yesterday’s NLRB’s decision on the collective-bargaining rights of employees hired through “temp” agencies has meant that very little attention has been paid to a decision handed down yesterday by an NLRB Administrative Law Judge.
Although the change in how contingent employees are defined has potentially broad direct ramifications and signals an important, fundamental shift in attitudes toward the legal marginalization of exploited workers, this second case may have more significant, immediate implications for our existing collective-bargaining units.
The case was brought by the AFT Local 4412 representing the Berklee College of Music faculty in response to changes in the minimum enrollment thresholds for courses announced by the institution’s administration. The union argued that because the administration had not negotiated the changes, as required by contract, and because it had announced the changes just before the semester started, when they could be challenged only after the fact, the administration should be…
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In its daily “Sentences” newsletter, Vox has provided the following list of items on today’s NLRB ruling:
–The National Labor Relations Board ruled today that a business that uses a contractor to provide workers — but has control over hiring, firing and other HR decisions — can be considered a “joint employer” even if it doesn’t employ the workers directly. [Washington Post / Lydia DePillis]
–That means that if workers decide to form a union, they wouldn’t just negotiate with the direct employer — they’d negotiate with the bigger company as well.[New York Times / Noam Schieber]
–The ruling overturns a much more limited standard from the Reagan-era NLRB, which helped spur the rise of companies using intermediaries to provide workers — or hiring “independent contractors” rather than full employees, as many startups like Uber do. [Washington Post / Lydia DePillis]
–Here’s some background on the…
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The following is an excerpt from breaking news report from The Hill written by by Tim Devaney:
“The National Labor Relations Board on Thursday handed down one of the biggest decisions of the Obama presidency, ruling that companies can be held equally responsible for labor violations committed by their contractors.
“At issue is whether waste management firm Browning-Ferris is responsible for the treatment of its contractor’s employees. The Houston-based company hired Leadpoint Business Services to staff a recycling facility in California.
“The labor board determined Browning-Ferris should be considered a joint employer with the Phoenix-based staffing agency. As a result, the company could be pulled into collective bargaining negotiations with those employees and held liable for any labor violations committed against them.
“This is a sharp departure from previous labor laws that hold companies responsible only for employees who are under their direct control by setting their hours, wages, or job responsibilities…
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Yesterday, some members of the Ohio Conference participated in a large rally in Columbus. Here is the beginning of a news report in the Columbus Dispatch:
“More than 3,000 union workers and supporters marched this morning from the Arena District to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, where Americans for Prosperity is hosting its ninth annual Defending the American Dream Summit. ‘When politicians are taking money from billionaires and letting them control our government, it’s no good for anybody,’ said Jarod Tomaino of UAW Local 1112 in Lordstown, as he stood outside the convention center, cars honking as they drove by. ‘This is to show you can’t buy the American dream. That’s what they’re trying to do.’”
Here are a few photos of the event.
Sara Kilpatrick (Executive Director of the Ohio Conference), Josh Lenes (National Organizing Staff), Rudy Fichtenbaum (President of AAUP), John McNay (President of the Ohio Conference), Gretchen…
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Several weeks ago, I was at a meeting for the leaders of “We Are Ohio” member and allied groups in southwestern Ohio, and one of the featured speakers asked the following rhetorical question about the corporate-funded “right to work” campaigns:
“When was the last time that you heard of corporations spending millions of dollars to expand the rights and to improve the working conditions of the workers in their states?”
I only this morning came across the gloss UIUC has put on its “supplemental” emails release in the Salaita Affair, the College of Medicine (COM), and the Kilgore matter. Specifically, UIUC had this to say on August 7 about the release of these “supplemental” emails:
Today the University is publicly releasing emails from personal email accounts related to James Kilgore, Steven Salaita, and the proposed Carle Illinois College of Medicine, whether they were subject to FOIA or not. This should fulfill the specific incomplete FOIA requests, and the additional emails around those three subjects are being released in the interest of transparency and disclosure.
Now I am always moved to tears by statements of beneficence rooted in transparency (and disclosure!), and so I experienced a brief moment of a sudden warm surge in my chest at the extraordinary steps UIUC had taken.
And then, I realized…
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For 16 years, Colleen M. Kelly has led the National Treasury Employees Union, the second largest union representing federal employees. This week, Tony Reardon was elected to succeed her, receiving 86% of the vote against three opponents. Here are Reardon’s answers to two of the four questions posed by the Washington Post to all four candidates. His answers illustrate that most of us have more reason for solidarity with IRS employees than we might ever have guessed.
What are the basic elements of your campaign platform?
I am an experienced NTEU leader who has and will continue to fight tirelessly for our members. I have worked closely with Colleen Kelley and every NTEU represented bargaining unit for the past 25 years. I am committed to working with our chapter leaders and our members to define and construct a shared vision for NTEU’s future, one that prepares us to meet the challenges of…
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Currently, about one in five U.S. workers is contingent—that is, not directly employed by the company for which he or she works. That percentage is expected to rise to about 30% over the next decade.
One of the major drivers of this increase in contingent employment has been the use of “temp agencies” to avoid the basic obligations that employers have toward their employees.
Writing for The Hill, Tim Devaney reports:
“The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is widely expected to rule by month’s end that Browning-Ferris Industries, a Houston-based waste-disposal company, is a joint employer of workers provided to the firm by a staffing agency, experts say. As a result, the company would be forced to collectively bargain with those employees and could be held liable for any labor violations committed against them.
“Such a decision could hit companies from a host of industries, including restaurants, retailers, manufacturers…
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A group called SEIU Members for Bernie has posted the following on a number of blogs, websites, and social-media pages. I found it on the blog Talking Union:
“The undersigned SEIU leaders, members, retirees and staff urge the International Executive Board not to make an early endorsement in the presidential primary campaign. We are supporters of Senator Sanders and believe his voice deserves to be heard. His campaign is drawing thousands into a movement around the very issues we support in our day-to-day organizing. To make an early endorsement of Hillary Clinton would put our union in direct opposition to this growing movement.
“Senator Sanders has an outstanding track record and is building a strong base of working people. Working against Sanders in the primaries will only alienate and confuse many SEIU members who are actively engaged in various movements, including the Fight for $15, immigration and higher education…
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On July 30, Cathy O’Neil posted an article titled “The Manufactured Trucker Shortage” on her mathbabe blog. She opens the article with a quotation from an article in the Wall Street Journal that raises some alarm over the current shortage of long-distance trucker drivers, estimated to be about 30,000 drivers, and, worse, the projected shortage of 200,000 long-distance drivers by 2025.
O’Neil claims that inadequate compensation, degrading working conditions, and the competitive advantages enjoyed by large trucking companies are the main reasons for the shortage. Specifically, although the average truck driver makes about $50,000 per year, the averaging means that many drivers are earning considerably less than that annual income. Likewise, although the surveillance technology employed by trucking companies has reduced the liability created by drivers ignoring safety standards, it has also been abused in so many ways that drivers are arguably being monitored by some companies much more closely…
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