Workers & Economic Inequality

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A Kentucky County Just Voted to Approve the First Local Right-to-Work Ordinance

The "right-to-work" ordinance has recently gained popularity by anti-union groups at the city- and county- level. This ordinance was finally recognized last week in a small Kentucky county where an affirmative preliminary approval was seen. If this law does get passed in the near future, it will begin a nation-wide fight for similar local-level "right-to-work" cases says TCF's fellow Moshe Marvit.

Promoters of the effort argue that although federal labor law generally preempts any local ordinances, Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, which permits right-to-work laws in “any state or territory,” is ambiguous as to whether it applies to cities and counties. They argue that counties are subdivisions of the state, and home rule cities have been delegated authority by the state, so these entities should be included under the term “state.”

Read Marvit's full piece.

Tags: workers rights, right to work, economics, anti-union activists

Thanks to Labor Board Ruling, You Can Now Use Company Email to Organize a Union

The National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") recently revolutionized the way that labor unions can organize by adding email as an approved medium of communications between members. TCF fellow Moshe Marvit says email trumps the law that bans labor unions from using company spaces such as bulletin boards, telephones, photocopiers and televisions because it does not restrict both parties from simultaneously communicating.

Recognizing the changing nature of the workplace, Liebman and Walsh explained that email was becoming the new water cooler, and that the Board fundamentally misunderstood how email systems work. In a passage that reads almost as if written by a millennial to her out of touch grandparents, the two members explained in basic terms to the Board majority the difference between emails and more traditional communication media: “If a union notice is posted on a bulletin board, the amount of space available for the employer to post its messages is reduced. If an employee is using a telephone for Section 7 or other nonwork-related purposes, that telephone line is unavailable for others to use.”

Check out the whole article here.

Tags: technology, labor unions, labor organizing, communications

Trying to Violate Federal Law, One City at a Time

December 12, 2014 COMMENTARY BY: Moshe Marvit TOPICS: Workers & Economic Inequality, Strengthening Unions

Anti-union groups have begin shifting focus from national fights to the local level. TCF fellow and labor law expert Moshe Marvit explains why this new anti-union push threatens to fundamentally disrupt federal labor policy.

Tags: right to work, labor unions, labor law, labor, anti-union activists

SCOTUS Rules Workers Don’t Need To Be Paid for All Their Time Working

TCF fellow Moshe Marvit provides commentary on the Supreme Court's decision in the case brought against the online retail company Amazon by their warehouse workers. Marvit describes the parameters of the case saying that company employees are more often than not subjected to harsh working conditions such as extreme temperatures or brutally fast-paced production times. The Supreme Court now ruled against the worker's lawsuit which requested that their time spent in security clearance upon exit be considered paid working time.

...Justice Thomas explains that the workers are not eligible for pay for the time they spend in the security screenings. The screenings are not the principal activity of Amazon because they were not hired to go through screenings, and they are not integral and indispensable because Amazon could have easily eliminated the screenings. The Court’s argument, then, is that because it is unnecessary for Amazon to execute long security screenings to conduct its business, it need not pay these workers for the required time they spend in these screenings.

Marvit's full article can be accessed here.

Tags: workers rights, scotus, fair labor standards

McConnell-Grimes Outcome Could Decide Whether Kentucky Goes Right-to-work

TCF fellow Moshe Marvit tells Politico that Mitch McConnell's re-election could tip the scales in favor of right-to-work laws in Kentucky. 

Moshe Marvit, a labor lawyer and fellow at the liberal Century Foundation who’s been following the Kentucky right-to-work fight, says leaders of Kentucky’s GOP establishment are working closely with the National Right to Work Committee. Last year, the McConnell campaign drew criticism from campaign finance watchdogs when it hired Dimitri Kesari, a former government affairs director for the National Right To Work Committee previously accused by its former staffer, Dennis Fusaro, of being involved in an off-the-books fundraising operation for the National Right to Work Committee.

Red the full article at Politico.

Tags: right to work, mcconnell, labor unions, grimes, 2014 midterm

Franchise Org Will Launch Labor Law Website

TCF fellow Moshe Marvit talks to Politico's Morning Shift about a new website from a trade group for fast food franchises. The website aims at educating franchisees about labor law requirements. Says Marvit:

Corporations have to be careful in trying to control how the individual stores treat workers … or else it further bolsters the argument that they are joint employers with the franchisees.

The new website was announced as the national Labor Relations Board considers whether or not to consider McDonald’s as a “joint employer” with its franchisees for labor law purposes.

Read the full article.

Tags: politico, nlrb, national labor relations board, mcdonalds, labor law, franchisees


Workers & Economic Inequality

Workers & Economic Inequality

In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.

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