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. Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
Michael J. Lotito September 01, 2015
In what is being described as a "landmark" ruling by the National Labor Relations Board, a divided NLRB has changed a decades-long approach and made it easier for contract and temporary workers to unionize. The NLRB decision expands the traditional definition of "employee" to include shift workers, contract workers, and other temporary employees. What will the decision mean for workers and employers? Will it impact franchisers? Will it lead to more contested matters, as the NLRB has suggested that it will make further determinations on a case-by-case basis? These and other questions, including questions from the audience, were be addressed on our Teleforum call.
Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
- Mr. Michael J. Lotito, Co-Chairman, Workplace Policy Institute and Shareholder, Littler Mendelson PC
July has been a busy month for the Department of Labor (DOL). On July 6th, DOL published proposed revisions to the “white collar” overtime regulations which would more than double the minimum salary level required for exemption. On July 10th, DOL defended its 2011 tip credit regulations before the Ninth Circuit in Oregon Restaurant & Lodging v. Perez. Last week, on July 15th, DOL issued new guidance – an “Administrator’s Interpretation” – concluding that “most” workers are employees, not independent contractors. A decision on the validity of DOL’s home care worker regulations is expected any day from the D.C. Circuit in Home Care Association v. Weil, and in August, DOL is expected to issue a request for information on the use of electronic devices by overtime-protected employees outside of scheduled work hours. In this teleforum, the Bush Administration’s wage-hour team at DOL provided a briefing on these developments and discussed what else we can expect from DOL over the next 18 months.
- Paul DeCamp, Jackson Lewis P.C.
- Alexander J. Passantino, Seyfarth & Shaw