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Labor Law

Changes in Markets and Foreign Competitors?

Short Video with Richard Epstein
Richard A. Epstein January 29, 2016

Professor Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, continues to give an brief history of unions and collective bargaining -- focusing on changes in markets resulting from globalization and discussing the instance of unions in the Japanese automobile industry.

Labor Unions: History of Unions and Collective Bargaining

Short Video with Richard Epstein
Richard A. Epstein January 29, 2016

Professor Richard Epstein, Professor of Law at NYU School of Law, gives a brief history of unions and collective bargaining - beginning with the New Deal and the industrial age and running through some of the changes in our economy over the last 80 years.

Free Rider or Free to Speak: Arguments Heard in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
William Messenger January 11, 2016

In Friedrichs, the Court will consider whether to overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which held that public employees can be compelled to financially support union collective-bargaining with government, but not union political activities. The Court’s grant of certiorari in Friedrichs came on the one-year anniversary of its decision in Harris v. Quinn, where the Court criticized Abood’s rationales, but did not overrule Abood. Unlike Harris, Friedrichs squarely presents the issue decided in Abood—whether public school teachers can be required to pay compulsory union fees as condition of their employment.

The Friedrichs petitioners argue that Abood should be overturned because there is no distinction between bargaining with government and lobbying government—both are political speech. The respondent California Teachers Association, however, counters that union bargaining with government is akin to bargaining with a private employer, and that it is wrongful for teachers to get a “free ride” on union bargaining efforts.

Is the Court likely to overrule Abood? And what will be the implications if it does?

Bill Messenger attended the oral arguments and offered his impressions and predictions during this Courthouse Steps Teleforum conference call.

Featuring:

  • William Messenger, Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.

Free Rider or Free to Speak: Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Oral Argument Preview - Podcast

Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Podcast
William Messenger, Carrie Severino January 08, 2016

On June 30, 2015, the Supreme Court decided to revisit whether the First Amendment permits the government to compel its employees to financially support a union by granting certiorari in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, No. 14-915. In Friedrichs, the Court will consider whether to overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977), which held that public employees can be compelled to financially support union collective-bargaining with government, but not union political activities.

The Court’s grant of certiorari came on the one-year anniversary of its decision in Harris v. Quinn, where the Court criticized Abood’s rationales, but did not overrule Abood. Unlike Harris, Friedrichs squarely presents the issue decided in Abood—whether public school teachers can be required to pay compulsory union fees as condition of their employment.

The Friedrichs petitioners argue that Abood should be overturned because there is no distinction between bargaining with government and lobbying government—both are political speech. The respondent California Teachers Association, however, counters that union bargaining with government is akin to bargaining with a private employer, and that it is wrongful for teachers to get a so-called “free ride” on union bargaining efforts.

Is the Court likely to overrule Abood? And what will be the implications if it does?

Featuring:

  • William Messenger, Staff Attorney, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.
  • Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director, Judicial Crisis Network

80th Anniversary of the National Labor Relations Act & Congressional Action - Event Audio/Video

2015 National Lawyers Convention
Richard A. Epstein, John N. Raudabaugh, Bill Samuel, Mark Schneider, Joan Larsen November 17, 2015

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.
Grand Ballroom

  • 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
Washington, DC