On Friday, the Minneapolis City Council introduced the subject matter of an ordinance ensuring fair scheduling, guaranteeing earned sick time and preventing wage theft. The Council also voted to approve funding to study a $15-per-hour minimum wage.
Monthly Archives: September 2015
In the construction and trades industry unions often engage in “market recovery” or “job targeting” programs, which allow a union company to remain competitive in the job market. In these programs, the union subsidizes bids of union contractors, thus allowing union contractors to lower their labor costs in order to compete effectively with non-union contractors. This is necessary to protect the rights of workers under the National Labor Relations Act.
In Idaho, the legislature passed a bill banning the use of such market recovery programs. Recently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Idaho anti-union law was unconstitutional.
In Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council, et. al. v. Lawrence Wasden, No. 11-35985 (Sept. 16 2015), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled:
The NLRB has repeatedly held that job targeting programs are actually protected under [Section] 7 of the NLRA. Most recently, the Board reaffirmed its earlier cases by explaining that “the objectives of job targeting programs fall squarely within the ambit of Section 7 of the Act,” which “protects concerted employee activities engaged in ‘for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.'”
This is crucial because without these programs, employees would be deterred from being associated with a union and engaging in collective bargaining or other protected activity under the NLRA.
The Attorney General attempted to argue that the case was not preempted by federal law. In other words, that federal protections awarded by the National Labor Relations Act did not apply. The Court disagreed.
Source: Courthouse News Service
Republicans had drafted a Right To Work law in Missouri, which was vetoed by Governor Nixon. In doing so, Nixon stated:
“For generations, the ability of workers to join together and bargain collectively for fair wages and benefits has formed the foundation of the American middle-class. This extreme measure would take our state backward, squeeze the middle class, lower wages for Missouri families, and subject businesses to criminal and unlimited civil liability.”
Recently, Republicans attempted to overturn this veto and failed to secure the 109 votes they needed. The vote was 96-63.
Source: Courthouse News Service
On Labor Day, President Obama issued an executive order mandating that federal contractors had to pay their employees sick leave.
The order mandates that workers accrue 1 paid sick hour for every 30 hours worked – up to 7 paid sick days a year.
This is a big and positive change for the workforce given that employees do not have a guaranteed right to get sick days. In MN, if employers provide sick days to its employees, then the Sick Day statutes apply. See MN Stat. 181.9413.
Generally, signatures for election petitions have to be in writing. However, this changed this week. This greatly speeds up election petitions, as well as eases up on the difficult battle that can be an election.
The General Counsel imposed additional requirements for electronic signatures. Electronic signatures must contain the signer’s name, email address or social media account, phone number, authorization language agreed to, date, and name of the employer. The signature cannot contain private identifying information like the signer’s date of birth or Social Security number. The union submitting the electronic signatures must provide a declaration attesting to the methods used to validate the signature.
The General Counsel’s guidance is effective immediately. The guidance could be viewed as another example of the Board bypassing regulatory processes to institute union-friendly procedures. The practical impact of the guidance is that unions may immediately use email and social media to gather signatures with limited review of their authenticity.
Given the Board’s recently instituted election rules and cases concerning access to employer email systems, this guidance could significantly accelerate the organizing process.
The Star Tribune had a sad, yet unsurprising, article about WI taking the raises away from its officers after it was determined that they owed back wages to those officers…
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin State Patrol is rescinding pay raises for officers who provide security to Gov. Scott Walker after federal regulators said they are due overtime pay dating back to May 2013.Department of Transportation spokeswoman Peg Schmitt said Tuesday that in light of the determination by the U.S. Department of Labor that the officers are due overtime, the $4-an-hour raises given the officers in February will be withdrawn.The 10 officers in the Dignitary Protection Unit provide protection to Walker around the clock, including when he is outside of Wisconsin running for president. They also protect Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and visiting dignitaries.The raises that took effect in February had increased salaries for most members of the unit from around $32 an hour to about $36 an hour.