Category Archives: Labor Laws/Legislation

Carlos Centeno and the plight of temporary workers

Source: Jim Morris and Chip Mitchell, Center for Public Integrity, WBEZ Morning Shift, December 21, 2012

When a nearly boiling acid solution burned a Chicago factory worker over most of his body, the company didn’t call 911. Carlos Centeno was a temporary worker. WBEZ and the Center for Public Integrity investigated hazards facing temp workers, and found that the government isn’t keeping close track of their injuries.
98 minutes: Text story
Source: Jim Morris (Center for Public Integrity) and Chip Mitchell (WBEZ), December 19, 2012

‘They were not thinking of him as a human being’
Source: Jim Morris, Chip Mitchell, Updated: January 25, 2013

Company: Temporary worker to blame for his fatal burns
Source: Chip Mitchell, WBEZ, January 7, 2013

In Wisconsin, When Bargaining Is Illegal, We Bargain ‘Informally’

Source: Dawn Tefft, Labor Notes, March 20, 2013

…Many state employee locals in Wisconsin have chosen not to bother with recertification. Locals in the American Federation of Teachers are adopting informal bargaining tactics for items that are off the table.

Employers agree to informal “consent bargaining” outside of contracts—through verbal agreements, memorandums of understanding, or changes in policy—when faced with strong locals. In Wisconsin, where dues check-off and even “fair share” are prohibited, strong locals are those that understand organizing at the grassroots level….

The Informal Economy and Decent Work: A Policy Resource Guide supporting transitions to formality

Source: International Labour Organization (ILO), March 19, 2013

From the abstract:
This practical Policy Resource Guide, initiated and completed by the Employment Policy Department, is the first initiative to bring together in one volume, a synthesis of knowledge, policy innovations and good practices facilitating transition to formality highlighting the multiple pathways and the indispensable synergies and coherence amongst the objectives of employment promotion, social protection and upholding rights.
Sections include:
…4. The Regulatory Framework and the Informal Economy
…(B) Specific Groups
4.b1 Domestic Workers: strategies for overcoming poor regulation
4.b2 Homeworkers: reducing vulnerabilities through extending and applying the law …

5. Organization, Representation and Dialogue
5.1 Social dialogue: promoting good governance in policy making on the informal economy
5.2 The role of Employers’ organizations and small business associations
5.3 Trade unions: reaching the marginalized and excluded
5.4 Cooperatives: a stepping stone out of informality …

Inflation and the Real Minimum Wage: A Fact Sheet

Source: Craig K. Elwell, Linda Levine, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report for Congress, R42973, February 26, 2013

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 established the hourly minimum wage rate at 25 cents for covered workers. Since then, it has been raised 22 separate times, in part to keep up with rising prices. Most recently, in July 2009, it was increased to $7.25 an hour. Because there have been some extended periods between these adjustments while inflation generally has increased, the real value (purchasing power) of the minimum wage has decreased substantially over time…

FMLA and Adult Children: New DOL Interpretation

Source: Maureen Minehan, Employment Alert, Vol. 30 no. 4, February 25, 2013
(subscription required)

You have an employee with a 30-year-old who daughter just gave birth to her first child. The daughter is struggling with postpartum depression and your employee wants to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to be with her. It’s not a good time for you to be shorthanded. Do you really need to grant permission for your employee to take care of her adult daughter? A new “Administrator’s Interpretation” released by the U.s. Department of Labor (DOL) on January 14th aims to make the answer clearer to employers. …The expanded definition of disability under the ADAAA means more employees will qualify for FMLA leave to care for adult children… In cases where employers believe employees don’t qualify, employers need to be ready to defend their decisions…

Paid Sick Days

Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2013

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research recently released several publications about the value of paid sick days.
Publications include:
Valuing Good Health in Portland: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
by Claudia Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Briefing Paper, IWPR #B317, March 2013

Testimony Before the Public Health and Human Services Committee of the Philadelphia City Council regarding Bill 130004, Promoting Healthy Families and Workplaces
by Claudia Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, IWPR #B316, March 2013

Testimony on SB 698: Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act
by Claudia Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, IWPR #B315, February 2013

Access to Earned Sick Days in Maryland
by Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Briefing Paper, IWPR #313, February 2013

Valuing Good Health in Maryland: The Costs and Benefits of Earned Sick Days
by Claudia Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Briefing Paper, IWPR #B311, February 2013

Valuing Good Health in Philadelphia: The Costs and Benefits of Paid Sick Days
by Claudia Williams, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Briefing Paper, IWPR #B309, January 2013
Portland Wins Sick Day and Everybody Benefits
Source: Jodie Levin-Epstein, Center for Law and Social Policy, March 13, 2013

Portland City Council Passes Sick Days, Portland Becomes Fourth City With Sick Days Law – Philadelphia City Council Vote Expected Thursday, Hearing in NYC Approaches, Legislatures in Washington State, Vermont, Massachusetts Move Bills Forward
Source: Family Values at Work, March 2013

Philadelphia City Council Passes Earned Sick Days

Source: Family Values at Work, Press Release, March 14, 2013

Labor Unions, Alternative Forms of Representation, and the Exercise of Authority Relations in U.S. Workplaces

Source: John Godard and Carola Frege, Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 66 no. 1, 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The authors draw on a telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. workers to explore whether alternative, nonunion forms of representation are filling the gap left by union decline; whether this matters to authority relations at work; and whether these first two points help to explain union decline. The authors find that nonunion associations do not appear to be filling the gap, but that management-established, nonunion representation systems are one-and-a-half times as widespread as is union representation and are evaluated somewhat more favorably by workers. Both unions and management-established systems bear positive associations with authority relations at work before controlling for management practices, but these are substantially weakened once management practices–especially “bureaucratic” practices–are entered. The authors argue that, in the case of unions, this is likely because unions cause employers to adopt these practices. This is not likely to be the case in management-established systems, however, which are more likely to be set up in conjunction with these practices. Finally, results suggest that management-established systems are often in violation of the Wagner Act, but they bear no association with the propensity to vote for a union. Instead, bureaucratic practices matter, independently of these systems.

Public Sector Collective Bargaining And The Distortion Of Democracy: Do Public Sector Unions Have “Too Much” Power?

Source: Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 34 no. 2, Winter 2013
(subscription required)

Articles include:

United States
• A Reconsideration and Empirical Evaluation of Wellington’s and Winter’s, The Unions and the Cities
by Jeffrey H. Keefe
• Does Public Employee Collective Bargaining Distort Democracy? A Perspective from the United States
by Martin H. Malin

• Does Public Sector Collective Bargaining Distort Democracy in Japan?
by Kazutoshi Koshiro
• Japan’s Collective Labor Relations Law in the Public Sector: Constitutional Conflict Between Union Rights and Democracy
by Ryuichi Yamakawa

• Does Public Sector Collective Bargaining Distort Democracy—The Case for France
by Véronique Chanut and Jacques Rojot

• Public Sector Industrial Relations in Canada: Does It Threaten or Sustain Democracy?
by Mark Thompson and Sara Slinn

• The Public Sector in the United States and Germany: Comparative Aspects in an Employment Relations Perspective
by Berndt Keller
• Public Sector Collective Bargaining and the Distortion of Democracy: Do Public Sector Unions Have “Too Much” Power?—German Perspective
by Jens M. Schubert

• Structural, Functional, and Cultural Aspects of the Greek Public Administration and Their Effects on Public Employees’ Collective Action
by Theodore N. Tsekos
• Public Sector Collective Bargaining and the Distortion of Democracy: Do Public Sector Unions Have “Too Much” Power?
by Dimitrios Kremalis

Implementation of Anti-Discrimination Policy: Does Judicial Selection Matter?

Source: Timothy Besley, American Law and Economics Review, February 28, 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Legislation to limit workplace discrimination is among the most common reforms in labor market policy of the past 50 years. Its effectiveness depends on enforcement of the legislation by state and federal agencies and, ultimately, the courts. This paper uses information on discrimination charges in the United States between 1973 and 2000 to analyze whether the number of charges filed is correlated with the method by which state judges are selected. We find evidence that states that appoint their judges have significantly fewer anti-discrimination charges being filed.