Unions flex muscle against Ohio Democratic legislative hopeful Ben Lindy over his student research for the Yale Law Journal, which found that teacher collective bargaining did not have uniformly favorable effects on student achievement [Max Kennerly, Cincinnati Enquirer, Jonathan Adler]
My colleague Ilya Shapiro thought things went well for the plaintiffs’ side in yesterday’s oral argument in the much-watched case over the First Amendment and teachers’ union dues, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. Others generally agree. Commentary before the argument from Jason Bedrick and Trevor Burrus, and afterward from Lyle Denniston (and more SCOTUSBlog).
On Jan. 11, the Supreme Court hears what may well be the most important case of the term. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, 10 teachers have challenged a state requirement that they support political causes with which they disagree and that hurt their students.
At issue is a kind of law that exists in 25 states which forces public-sector workers either to join a union or pay an amount that covers the cost of the union’s collective bargaining. For California teachers, that means annual dues of about $1,000 or “agency fees” of about two-thirds that amount.
— Ilya Shapiro and Jason Bedrick, Orange County Register. More: Shapiro and Jayme Weber, The Federalist; Richard Epstein, Robert Alt first, second (empirical evidence that unions can do well even when nonmembers not obliged to pay agency fees), third (stare decisis) posts, George Will. Earlier on Friedrichs and its predecessor cases Harris v. Quinn and Knox v. SEIU. A contrary view: New York Times editorial.
- “Outdoor guides to Obama: Take a hike” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner; Labor Department imposes higher federal-contractor minimum wage on outfitters operating in national parks, though they do not fit conventional definition of contractors]
- Los Angeles: “Gov’t Emails Cast Doubt On Berkeley Minimum Wage Study” [Connor Wolf, Daily Caller]
- Video: David Boaz (Cato) debates Chai Feldblum (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) on identity in the workplace [Atlantic “Ideas”]
- Oyster visas: when even Sen. Barbara Mikulski says labor regulations go too far, maybe they go too far [Rachel Weiner, Washington Post]
- Lawsuit: California shouldn’t be letting private employees work seven days in a row whether they want to or not [Trevor Burrus, Cato; Mendoza v. Nordstrom brief, Supreme Court of California]
- One hopes U.S. Senate will think carefully before ratifying international labor conventions [Richard Trumka and Craig Becker, Pacific Standard]
- “We’re going to overturn every rock in their lives to find out about their lifestyles”: union chief vows to go after lawmakers seeking to break county liquor monopoly in Montgomery County, Maryland [Bethesda Magazine]
- “NLRB: Unions have a right to know employees home phone numbers. If firms don’t have them, they must obtain them.” [@JamesBSherk summarizing Sean Higgins/Washington Examiner on Danbury Hospital case]
- Subpoenas get NLRB into redaction fight with McDonald’s [Sean Higgins/Examiner; more on joint-employer battle from International Franchise Association via Connor Wolf, Daily Caller]
- George Leef reviews Daniel DiSalvo’s book on public sector unionism, Government Against Itself [Forbes]
- “Seattle May Soon Force Uber And Lyft Drivers To Unionize” [Connor Wolf/Caller]
- Your periodic reminder that the “add union organizing to protected classes under civil rights law” formula is one of the worst ideas ever [Jon Hyman, Wolf/Caller on Workplace Action for a Growing Economy (WAGE) Act sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.)]
- Sen. Orrin Hatch: my proposed Employee Rights Act would “allow workers a greater role in how their union represents them” [Washington Times, background at Washington Examiner]
- Philadelphia union extortion and violence episode is a reminder it’s past time to revisit 1973 SCOTUS case of U.S. v. Enmons which tended to give a green light to such things [Mark Mix, Washington Times]
- “May employer fire employees for defending themselves (or others) against violent customers?” Dissenting Judge Lee has better view in Utah case [Eugene Volokh]
- “You have to ignore many variables to think women are paid less than men. California is happy to try.” [Sarah Ketterer, WSJ]
- U.S. Department of Labor has agreements with eleven countries to teach immigrant workers about U.S. labor laws “prior to and after their arrival” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner]
- “Why is Harrisburg paying a police officer who hasn’t shown up for work in 25 years?” [PennLive] Cf. Former Nashville cop says he “didn’t really want to” go on disability pension 27 years ago, “but it was either that or get fired” [Nashville City Paper back in 2010]
- “A White House forum for your whiny employees? Yup, this is a real thing, and you should pay attention.” [Jon Hyman]
- Minneapolis charity canvassers: “The Wobblies just won a big independent contractor case at the NLRB” [Politico “Morning Shift”, Jon Hyman]
- On widely reported decline in labor share of U.S. income, mind this little-reported asterisk [David Henderson, Timothy Taylor]
A rejoinder worth reading on labor markets by George Mason economist Bryan Caplan to the pseudonymous “Scott Alexander,” who writes the popular Slate Star Codex blog [Caplan first, second, third posts, all responding to this critique-of-libertarianism FAQ] If you don’t read Alexander, some of his top posts are here (especially strong on questions of medicine/health care and the way social justice language has developed into a tool of power). Also check out his recent post on the Daraprim mess and the wider failure of generic drug regulation [earlier on which].
Washington, D.C.: a pending council bill on AirBnB and similar arrangements, “backed by a large hotel workers union, would ban the rental of whole units without the owner or occupant being present, and prevent hosts from renting out more than one unit at a time. It would also create a special enforcement division within the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to conduct inspections, and empower third parties — such as neighborhood groups or housing affordability advocates — to sue for violations.” Hotel owners have their own, “less draconian” scheme to restrict AirBnB use in the popular tourism city. [Lydia DePillis, Washington Post “WonkBlog”]
Scott Walker has announced a far-reaching package of labor reforms going far beyond the cautious Republican norm, including abolishing the NLRB and transferring its power to other agencies, eliminating federal unions, making right-to-work the default federal labor law regime unless states opt out, repealing Davis-Bacon, and more. [Reason, Associated Press, Hot Air interview] Union leaders, quite understandably from their perspective, lost no time in speaking out loudly against Walker’s ideas. Why, one wonders, don’t more business people speak out as loudly against the ideas of Bernie Sanders?