2015 National Lawyers Convention
Our nation's private sector labor law is a product of the New Deal and the industrial age. In its first edition, the 1935 Wagner Act, employee rights to organize were recognized and employer unfair labor practices were defined. Twelve years later, the pendulum swung and union unfair labor practices were added to the Act. To address corruption, the 1959 Landrum-Griffin Act was enacted to require labor organizations, employers, and labor relations consultants to file annual reports, and union members were granted a Bill of Rights. The NLRA was last amended in 1974, addressing the health care industry.
Over the past 80 years, our nation's economy, indeed, the global economy, has changed significantly. While some efforts have been made over the last four decades to amend federal labor law, none have succeeded. To fill the vacuum, the National Labor Relations Board has stepped in as what some would describe as a quasi-legislature, issuing decisions and rules reflecting the Board's political majority's bias to circumvent Congressional deadlock.
Should labor law be viewed as a vehicle to restore organized labor's density of 60+ years ago or to ensure employee rights to join or not join a labor union? Or, should labor law be overhauled to ensure labor unions' presence globally and to empower organized labor to affect or determine global work standards and business models generally? And, should labor law be politically aligned with one party? Is labor law about the American citizen/worker or about organized labor's institutional survival?
Labor & Employment: 80th Anniversary of the National Labor Relations Act & Congressional Action
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
- Prof. Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law. Director, Classical Liberal Institute, New York University School of Law
- Hon. John N. Raudabaugh, Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law, Ave Maria School of Law
- Mr. Bill Samuel, Director of Government Affairs, AFL-CIO
- Mr. Mark Schneider, General Counsel, Int'l Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
- Moderator: Hon. Joan L. Larsen, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Michigan
The Mayflower Hotel Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
Karen Harned November 17, 2015
On November 10 the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo. In this case, Tyson Foods was ordered to pay $5.8 million in damages in a class action lawsuit brought by employees alleging violations of various federal and state labor laws. A class of employees sued Tysons for failing to properly compensate them for time they spent donning and doffing protective clothing and equipment and washing equipment. The 8th Circuit allowed the plaintiffs to use used statistical sampling to determine damage awards. The Eighth Circuit certified the class under Rule 23 despite a wide variance among class members of time spent donning, doffing and washing equipment. The outcome of the case could have a significant impact on the rules governing class certifications and whether statistical sampling can be used in the class action context.
Short video featuring Anastasia Boden discussing Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo
- Karen Harned, Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business Legal Center
Anastasia Boden November 09, 2015
Attorney Anastasia Boden of the Pacific Legal Foundation previews the upcoming Supreme Court case Tyson Foods, Inc. v. Bouaphakeo. In the case, workers sued Tyson Food for not paying them for time spent taking on and off their work equipment. Since no time records for such activity were kept, the lower court allowed damages to be determined based on an average time for class members and then applied it to the entire remaining class. Ms. Boden explains the concept of “Trial by Formula” and its implications in this case. The Pacific Legal Foundation filed an amicus brief co-authored by Ms. Boden in support of the petitioner Tyson Foods. SCOTUScast 11-6-15 featuring Cory Andrews
Cory L. Andrews November 06, 2015
On October 6, 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in DIRECTV v. Imburgia. This case involves a class action lawsuit which argues that DIRECTV improperly charged early termination fees to its customers. The question is whether the California Court of Appeal erred by holding that a reference to state law in an arbitration agreement governed by the Federal Arbitration Act requires the application of state law preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.
To discuss the case, we have Cory Andrews, who is Senior Litigation Counsel at the Washington Legal Foundation. Short Video on Little Sisters of the Poor and the Contraceptive Mandate
Eileen J. O'Connor September 29, 2015
The Honorable Eileen J. O’Connor, partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, explains the impact of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate on the Little Sisters of the Poor. In Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, the sisters have petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari because they believe that following the accommodation offered by HHS violates their Freedom of Religion. The government argues that the accommodation HHS designed relieves the Little Sisters of complicity in the provision of contraceptives, and therefore their religious liberty is not implicated.