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|Updated 6/23/2004; 10:42:13 AM
||Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Recent NLRB ruling overturns Weingarten rights for non-union employees
IBM Corporation and Kenneth Paul Schult, Robert William Bannon, and Steven Parsley.
full text of June 9, 2004 decision at http://www.nlrb.gov/nlrb/shared_files/decisions/341/341-148.htm
"Our reexamination of Epilepsy Foundation leads us to conclude that the policy considerations supporting that decision do not warrant, particularly at this time, adherence to the holding in Epilepsy Foundation. In recent years, there have been many changes in the workplace environment, including ever-increasing requirements to conduct workplace investigations, as well as new security concerns raised by incidents of national and workplace violence.
Our consideration of these features of the contemporary workplace leads us to conclude that an employer must be allowed to conduct its required investigations in a thorough, sensitive, and confidential manner. This can best be accomplished by permitting an employer in a nonunion setting to investigate an employee without the presence of a coworker."
thanks to UCB Labor Center researcher Ken Jacobs for pointing out this item
Nation's Largest Union Calls for End to U.S. Occupation of Iraq and Withdrawal of U.S. Troops
SEIU resolution, 6/22/2004
Nearly 4000 delegates of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation's largest with 1.6 million members, voted unanimously at the union's national convention in San Francisco today to end U.S. occupation of Iraq and to bring U.S. troops stationed there home.
The strongly worded resolution pointed to military intervention aboard and attacks on workers at home. The resolution charged the Bush administration (backed by a majority in Congress) with responsibility for declining wages and benefits, deunionization, cuts in public services, crumbling health care and educational systems, cuts in veterans benefits, escalating public debt, and eroding economic, social and personal security.
The union proclaimed, "We cannot solve these economic and social problems without addressing U.S. foreign policy and its consequences."
The full text of the resolution is available on the USLAW website at http://uslaboragainstwar.org/article.php?id=5382
||Tuesday, June 22, 2004
|Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District
925 Collection goes to Wayne State University
June 21, 2004
Wayne State University's Walter P. Reuther Library and the College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs are pleased to announce the opening of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) District 925 Collection. Comprising 15 linear feet and spanning the years 1973 to 2004, this collection is an invaluable resource for historians and other scholars seeking to understand the interplay between the women's movement and the labor movement in the last quarter of the twentieth century.
The collection is a significant addition to the Reuther Library's substantial holdings on women and work, including the papers of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Mildred Jeffrey and the 20th Century Trade Union Woman oral histories.
For twenty years, until its restructuring and merger with other SEIU locals in 2001, District 925 successfully organized thousands of librarians, college and university support staff, day care, local government workers and other office, technical and professional employees. This organizing took place in hard-fought campaigns
primarily in Massachusetts, Ohio and Washington. Along with 9to5, the National Association of Working Women, it lobbied for equal pay, affirmative action, child care, office health and safety and against age discrimination and sexual harassment.
In launching District 925, SEIU signaled its recognition of the growing presence of women in the workforce and of clerical work as the single largest sector in that workforce. To meet the needs of both these constituencies, the International simultaneously announced the creation of its Clerical Division, later called the Office Worker Division.
The "SEIU District 925 Collection" documents the activities of this effort and is sure to attract scholars pursuing research on this SEIU affiliate and related subjects.
Kristen Chinery, Librarian
The Walter P. Reuther Library
College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
Court upholds Berkeley 'living wage'
San Francisco Business Times
June 16, 2004
The city of Berkeley was within its rights to insist that a restaurant operator at the city's marina pay its workers the city's "living wage," a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.
In its 2-1 vote, the panel said the move did not violate the U.S. Constitution's prohibition on legislative interference with valid contracts.
A "living wage" requires certain employers, usually those which do business with a city or use city facilities for private business, to pay their employees wages approximating the real cost of living in the locality, which is often significantly higher than the applicable state or federal minimum wage. In California, living wage ordinances are in effect in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Marin counties, as well as a number of cities, including San Jose, Pasadena, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Oakland, and Berkeley.
Berkeley enacted a living wage law in 2000, after RUI One Corp., a subsidiary of Restaurants Unlimited, Inc., signed a lease with the city for its restaurant at the Berkeley Marina.
The crux of RUI's argument was that it was unfair to target only it and a small number of other businesses in the marina. RUI conceded the city's authority to regulate wages, and to enact the original living wage ordinance, but challenged the legislative decision that imposed the ordinance's terms on Marina businesses but not upon other similar businesses elsewhere in the city, the court noted.
"It is more than reasonable that the city should expect marina businesses, which receive so many benefits from the city in the form of improvements and lack of competition due to the development moratorium, and which operate on land held in the public trust, to contribute to the welfare of the surrounding community and not to exacerbate its problems," said the majority opinion, written by Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw. "Although RUI claims that any benefit it receives is offset by the rent it pays the city, it is certainly 'plausible' for the city legislators to believe that rent alone does not adequately discharge marina businesses' responsibilities to the public and city. Furthermore, it is certainly 'plausible' that certain members of the public might be deterred from patronizing the Berkeley Marina if they knew that the businesses there paid their employees less than a living wage.
In the dissenting opinion, Judge Jay Bybee said the city overstepped its authority.
"[T]he City effectively rewrote RUI's lease by ordinance," he writes. "Berkeley used its sovereign authority to achieve what it failed to negotiate in its proprietary capacity. The Contract Clause protects parties doing business with the government from such arbitrary exercises of sovereign authority."
Seattle-based Restaurants Unlimited, Inc. owns and operates 31 full-service restaurants in 19 markets, according to its Web site. A call to the company for comment was not immediately returned.
||Tuesday, June 08, 2004
Census Bureau Analyzes Earnings by Detailed Occupations for Men and Women in 505 Jobs
[full-text, 28 pages]
June 2, 2004
Contact: Mike Bergman, Public Information Office, email@example.com
The U.S. Census Bureau today released an analysis of earnings by occupation for all workers and separately for men and women. The findings are based on information collected in Census 2000. The report, Evidence From Census 2000 About Earnings by Detailed Occupation for Men and Women, presents data for more than 500 civilian occupations.
The national-level special tabulation is based on responses from a sample of households (about 1-in-6) that received the Census 2000 long form. The data are subject to sampling and nonsampling error.
The Census Bureau cautions the public not to confuse these Census 2000 sample estimates with estimates from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS) or from the American Community Survey (ACS). Findings from these sources may not agree because of different program goals, survey concepts, data processing and estimation methods.
Source: IWS Documented News Service, School of Industrial & Labor Relations, Cornell University
Monthly Labor Review Online
Monthly Labor Review Online is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. The online version has been published since 1988 and mirrors its print counterpart. It includes an index of articles published in print since 1988 as well as an archive of past issues.
Current issue: May 2004, Vol. 127, Number 5
Measuring labor dynamics: the next generation in labor market information
Richard L. Clayton and Jay A. Mousa
[full-text, 6 pages]
Alaska's "brain drain": myth or reality?
[full-text, 14 pages]
Job mobility and hourly wages: is there a relationship?
[full-text, 8 pages]
Employment and wage outcomes for North Carolina's high-tech workers
[full-text, 9 pages]
Using wage records in workforce investments in Ohio
Rich Gordon, Mark Schaff, and Greg Shaw
[full-text, 4 pages]
Source: IWS Documented News Service, School of Industrial & Labor Relations, Cornell University
||Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Report Documents $10 Billion Public Price Tag on Low-Wage Jobs:
Two Million California Working Families Rely on Safety Net Programs to Make Ends Meet
The Hidden Public Costs of Low-Wage Jobs in California
UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education
The report is available on line at: http://laborcenter.berkeley.edu
Ken Jacobs, UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education (510) 643-2621, cell (415) 516-3135
Aimee Durfee, National Economic Development and Law Center (510) 251-2600 x127, cell (510) 851-1311
May 20, 2004, Berkeley, CA
For many California workers, according to a UC Berkeley study released today, a full-time low-wage paycheck is simply not enough to make ends meet. As a consequence, 2 million California families rely on publicly funded safety net programs even though one or more family members work at a public cost of over $10 billion a year.
California's new economy has produced an hourglass pattern of job distribution, fostering growth of high and low-wage jobs but little in between, explained report author Carol Zabin of the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education. Low-wage workers are relying on public assistance to make ends meet. Low-wage employers are essentially shifting their labor costs onto the public.
The researchers found that small improvements in wages could move many families off public programs, freeing up scarce resources for families currently on waiting lists. If all workers in the state earned a minimum of $8 an hour, program costs would be reduced by $2.7 billion. A movement to $14 per hour reduces expenditures by 5.6 billion dollars. Likewise, if jobs included health benefits, even at current wage levels, $2.1 billion in expenditures could be put to other uses.
The report, The Hidden Public Costs of Low-Wage Jobs in California was written by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education for the National Economic Development & Law Center. The report analyzed the participation of working families in the ten largest state-wide safety net programs in 2002, including Medi-Cal, CalWorks, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit, Food Stamps and Housing Vouchers. The report found:
· Half of all means tested public assistance dollars are going to families who are working. In 2002, almost half ($10.1 billion) of public assistance dollars in the state went to families where at least one person worked at least 45 weeks per year.
· Most workers on public assistance earn wage close to the minimum wage. Over $5 billion in support goes to families of workers earning below $8 an hour.
· Full-time employment at low-wages doesn t bring self-sufficiency. Over 75% of the benefits to working families went to families in which all earners worked full-time.
· More than one of four workers in working families receiving assistance works for a business with 1,000 or more employees.
· Public assistance to working families goes disproportionately to those working in a few industry sectors. Workers in the retail industry received about $2 billion in public assistance, over twice the amount received by those in any other sector. Other top sectors included business services and construction.
· Low-wages in these sectors are not due to international competition. The vast majority of workers receiving public assistance (71%) are employed in sectors of the economy that do not face significant international or out of state competition, including retail, transportation, business services (janitors, security guards), and construction.
· More than half of the working family members receiving assistance 1.1 million live in the Los Angeles Area.
The report was commissioned by NEDLC with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and is the second in a series of white papers informing policy solutions to working poverty in California.
||Wednesday, May 19, 2004
In a 2-1 party line vote, the Bush National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided an employer may explicitly inform workers who are about to vote on whether to form a union that workers in two other facilities lost their jobs after they formed a union.
The case involves security guards at a New York City hotel who were seeking to form a union with the Brotherhood of Security Personnel Officers and Guards Union. Eight days before the election, management circulated a memo saying security guards had been fired after voting for the union at two of the company's other hotels. The memo said, "So, in the final analysis, the majority who voted for this union (as well as the minority who voted against it) gained NOTHING, and LOST EVERYTHING! They lost all of their medical benefits, their 401K plans, and most importantly, they lost their jobs!"
The regional NLRB director ruled the memo "clearly implied" the union was responsible for the firings at the other two hotels and insinuated similar firings could happen if the workers voted for the union. The two Bush NLRB appointees overruled the regional director's decision and claimed the memo "did not exceed the bounds of permissible campaign statements."
In his dissent, the lone Democratic appointee said the memo "was a clear attempt to communicate the message that unionization at the other two hotels caused those employees to lose their jobs and benefits, and that unionization would likewise cause the employees to lose their jobs and benefits."
||Tuesday, May 18, 2004
House approves changes to government's work-safety agency
LEIGH STROPE, AP Labor Writer
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
©2004 Associated Press
The House voted Tuesday to make employer-friendly changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, including adding two members to a violations review commission, increasing its power, extending deadlines for companies to challenge citations and allowing more of them to recoup lawyers' fees.
Republicans said the four bills would enhance OSHA's oversight of employers and improve the regulatory process.
Democrats said the legislation was an election-year gift to big business, intended to weaken regulation that ultimately would hurt workers.
"Don't hamstring small businesses' ability to continue to hire new workers and compete in our economy," said GOP Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. "That's why these bills are important."
Republicans argued the four bills make technical, easily understood changes that remove unnecessary red tape on employers by OSHA, a Labor Department agency.
"I would argue the bills enhance OSHA's ability to work with employers in a voluntary way to increase the health and safety of workers," Boehner said.
Democrats countered that the bills do nothing to improve job protections for workers, and Republicans are looking out only for their employer campaign contributors.
"You never get any bills from them seeking to protect workers," Rep. Major Owens, D-N.Y., said about the Republicans.
Jobs flying faster from U.S.
Estimate for 2006 raised by 40% -- to 800,000
John Shinal, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
U.S. corporations are sending work overseas faster than previously thought, according to Forrester Research Inc., whose controversial report 18 months ago helped stoke the national controversy over offshoring American jobs.
In its latest study, Forrester predicts that by the end of next year, U.S. firms will offshore more than 800,000 service jobs, 40 percent more than the firm estimated previously. Forrester's overall estimate remains the same: The firm predicts that about 3.3 million jobs will go overseas by 2015.
The Cambridge, Mass., researcher said the largest U.S. employers are expanding the types of work they send overseas. Where telemarketers and software developers used to bear the brunt of the job loss, bank loan processors, insurance claims adjusters and even legal assistants now share the pain.
Critics of offshoring seized on the original Forrester report as evidence that shipping jobs overseas would devastate service-sector employment and the middle-class workers who fill those occupations. Yet the report itself was criticized by economists, company executives and others who have defended offshoring as a painful but necessary result of a global economy.
The issue has become a political hot button, with some in Congress calling for laws to limit the type of work that can besent abroad and privacy advocates saying the practice puts sensitive data into the hands of overseas firms.
Despite the criticism, the largest U.S. companies are accelerating their offshoring plans, and by 2008, more than half the Fortune 1000 will have overseas operations, according to the report.
||Monday, May 10, 2004
Czarnecki's Labor Education Newsletter
Ed Czarnecki has been cranking out this wonderfully useful list of resources and news for many years. He carefully annotates each one and makes sure the contact information is valid, so it's easy to use and find what you need. The current issue (Vol. XIII No. 3 May 10, 2004) contains these, among others:
WORKERS’ RIGHTS WATCH - EYE ON THE NLRB http://americanrightsatwork.org This monthly alert from American Rights at Work looks at how the NLRB affects organizing drives, either because of inadequacies of the law or because of decisions that do little to prevent employer abuses.
APRIL QUESTION OF THE MONTH (CATHERWOOD LIBRARY) What’s It Like to Work for a Labor Union?
Site provides occupational distribution of union jobs and rewards and
conditions of these jobs.
VIDEO: FTAA & THE MIAMI MODEL: FREE CAPITAL, FOUL REPRESSION
A 17 minute video from the Univ. of Minnesota Labor Education Service. Details what happened during the demonstrations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas, in Miami on November 2003. Call 612-624-5020 or contact Howard Kling firstname.lastname@example.org