- Professor Stephen Ware, Kansas Law
In 1957, an article in the Stanford Law Review asked the question: can counties and cities pass right to work ordinances under the Taft-Hartley Amendments to the National Labor Relations Act? The law explicitly allowed states to prohibit "agency-shop" contracts, but did not clearly address subdivisions of states. This question of federal preemption was addressed by courts only three times in more than fifty years. In that time, twenty-six states have passed statewide right to work laws. But recently, Hardin County in Kentucky passed, and the federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld, a local right-to-work ordinance. Consequently, this sleeper issue may be hugely important in "purple" states across the country.Our panel of labor law and federalism experts talked about the law and politics of local right to work laws.
2016 was a big year for labor and employment law. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a deadlocked Supreme Court allowed a lower court ruling to stand, denying a First Amendment challenge to mandatory union dues. Meanwhile, President Obama’s Department of Labor released a new overtime regulation which would more than double the maximum salary required for exemption from overtime pay. The implementation of the regulation was halted just a few days before going into effect by a nationwide injunction by a federal district court judge.
With 2017 ahead and the general election behind, our experts discussed the future of labor law under the Trump administration.