Posts tagged as:

labor unions

Food roundup

by Walter Olson on November 8, 2013

  • Reminder: Second Amendment rights run against the government, not against your employer or other private parties [Eugene Volokh]
  • Invasion of privacy? Employees continue to win awards and settlements by way of surreptitious recording devices in workplace [Jon Hyman]
  • Gov. Brown signs bill creating overtime entitlement for California nannies, private health aides [Reuters, L.A. Times]
  • Does rolling back a benefit under a public employee pension plan violate the Contracts Clause? [Alexander Volokh, Reason Foundation]
  • Even as anti-bullying programs backfire, some propose extending them to workplace [Hans Bader, CEI, earlier]
  • Background on Harris v. Quinn, SCOTUS case on herding family home carers into union fee arrangements [Illinois Review, earlier]
  • “California unions target business-friendly Dems” [Steve Malanga]

Yes, the New York City arts scene has a lot of money sloshing around in it, that of Minneapolis-St. Paul much less, but in neither instance are performing-arts labor unions doing well at reaching a livable accommodation with the needs of high culture. [Hoover "Defining Ideas"]

Maryland roundup

by Walter Olson on October 4, 2013

  • You might as well live: estate and inheritance tax make it highly inadvisable to die as a Maryland resident [TaxProf]
  • “Foreclosures: The Chickens Come Home to Roost” [Calvert Institute, earlier]
  • Courts task force created earlier this year will study costly and open-ended Civil Gideon proposals [courts]
  • For your own good: state’s commissioner of financial regulation goes after banks that service payday lenders [Funnell]
  • Governor candidates angle for union support, bids include “greater use of collective bargaining agreements on state construction projects” [WaPo]
  • Really, it won’t kill you to respect people’s consciences on Frederick County boards and commissions [Bethany Rodgers, Frederick News Post on Pledge of Allegiance controversy, update, Ken at Popehat ("Freedom of conscience is like the good couch in the living room; it's there to be had, not to be used.")] About time: city may ease restrictions on bed and breakfasts [Jen Bondeson, Frederick News Post]
  • Only a handful of states join Maryland in policy of unionizing home child carers [Go Local Providence, more]

The Supreme Court yesterday granted certiorari in Harris v. Quinn, a case raising potentially major issues of federal labor law and forced political association. Via SCOTUSBlog:

Issue: (1) Whether a state may, consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, compel personal care providers to accept and financially support a private organization as their exclusive representative to petition the state for greater reimbursements from its Medicaid programs; and (2) whether the lower court erred in holding that the claims of providers in the Home Based Support Services Program are not ripe for judicial review.

My colleagues at the Cato Institute filed an amicus brief seeking cert in the case. More: Will Baude.

Labor and employment roundup

by Walter Olson on September 13, 2013


  • “Is the main effect of the minimum wage on job growth?” [Tyler Cowen] Minimum wage is transitional wage; most workers who receive it will earn higher rate in the next year if they stay employed [same] “Obama’s Bogus Case for a ‘Decent Wage’”[Ira Stoll]
  • “Equipment manufacturer sues EEOC over email survey trolling for potential class members” [Jessica Karmasek, LNL]
  • Don’t mess with SEIU? “Service Employees Suit Assesses Harsh Penalties against Breakaway Reformers” [Steve Early, Labor Notes]
  • NLRB is fully staffed now, so watch out employers [Rod Kackley, Crain's Detroit Business]
  • Major League Baseball latest to face suit over unpaid volunteer workers [ABA Journal]
  • Dent in lawyers’ business plan? Judge doesn’t think Michigan meatpacking workers’ $1,000 don/doff claim is adequate basis for $140,000 legal fee award [Free Press]
  • Workplace vagrants: many employees quit jobs regularly as garnishment catches up to them [Coyote]
  • Following KMart settlement, new California suitable-seating class action filed against Costco [Recorder, Law360, Canela v. Costco, PDF; earlier here, etc.]
  • Judge enjoins Teamsters: “members had disrupted funeral of a child, harassed mourners” [Bill McMorris, Free Beacon] “How would you feel if someone you never met from a ‘worker center’ went to your boss and said he represents you?” [Diana Furchtgott-Roth, earlier here and here] More: Eric Boehm,;
  • “Business Fears Of The New National Labor Relations Board Are Justified” [Fred Wszolek]
  • Layoff package much nicer if you’re at Boeing, courtesy taxpayers [Seattle Times via Amy Alkon]
  • “European Court of Human Rights: Religious Autonomy Trumps Right to Unionize” [Becket Fund]
  • “Drink and Drive. Get Fired. Collect Unemployment Benefits? Yep, Says [Connecticut Supreme] Court.” [Daniel Schwartz]
  • Judge strikes down NYC prevailing wage law [Bloomberg]

Yesterday I poked fun at a ridiculous piece at HuffPo (apparently written by an undergraduate who was given a byline as a university researcher) claiming that doubling wages at McDonald’s would be no big deal for its prices or business strategy. Well, hats off to HuffPo, which has now withdrawn the piece, apologized for its errors, and substituted a piece that tries to take a more sober look at the issue. I wonder whether Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who was completely taken in by the original article, is feeling sheepish now (via Twitchy).


So McDonald’s Dollar Menu would go up only to $1.17 if the company doubled all wages? Oh, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), you’re so gullible it’s almost cute. [Tom Maguire]

Update: Well, hats off to HuffPo, which has now withdrawn the piece, apologized for its errors, and substituted a piece that tries to take a more sober look at the issue. I wonder whether Rep. Ellison is feeling sheepish now (via Twitchy).


  • “What’s Wrong with Domestic Workers’ ‘Bill(s) of Rights’” [Wendy McElroy, The Freeman; earlier here, etc.]
  • More on the implications of supervisory-harassment case Vance v. Ball State [Kay Steiger, The Atlantic, and thanks for mention; earlier here and here]
  • N.J. doesn’t allow workers under 18 near construction sites: “Labor law limits volunteer help for Sandy relief” [Asbury Park Press]
  • Charlotte Garden (Seattle U.) on non-labor litigation by unions [Workplace Prof; a 1999 Ohio case]
  • So classically L.A. Times: in wildly slanted article, reporter Alana Semuels quotes seven lawyers/lawprofs attacking workplace arbitration contracts, none in defense;
  • One unintended consequence of limiting unpaid internships: boosting value of pre-existing social connections [David Henderson]
  • “High Court to review sweetheart deals between unions, management” [Sean Higgins, DC Examiner on Supreme Court case of UNITE HERE v. Mulhall]

Schools roundup

by Walter Olson on June 17, 2013

  • Chilling one side of a debate? American Federation of Teachers arm-twists board members to quit groups critical of union contracts (including the Manhattan Institute, with which I used to be affiliated) [New York Post, Bloomberg, Ira Stoll]
  • “Third Circuit Finds Schools Aren’t Liable for Bullies” [Fed Soc Blog]
  • Case dismissed in Marshall University student’s suit over exceedingly undignified bottle-rocket stunt [West Virginia Record]
  • Free pass for harming students? Realistic policy call? Both? Courts frown on “educational malpractice” claims vs. schools, teachers [Illinois State Bar Association; Beck]
  • Brookings has very poor reviews for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s student loan plan [Matthew Chingos and Beth Akers; Megan McArdle]
  • 1,200 sign Harvard petition assailing academic freedom in Jason Richwine case [Boston Globe]
  • College selection of commencement speakers: political spectrum’s so skewed that even moderate GOPer Bob Zoellick’s a no-go [Bainbridge]
  • The Common Good online forum on risk and legal fear in schools, in which I’m a participant, continues for another day or two.


  • NLRB comes to grief again in D.C. Circuit, this time on posting rule [Fox, Adler]
  • Departing executive director of D.C. labor board: higher-ups pressed for discrimination against conservatives, whites [Hans von Spakovsky, Examiner]
  • “Dollar General: Discovery request would give client list to plaintiffs lawyers” [West Virginia Record]
  • Dems do themselves little credit by blocking legalization of flextime [Ramesh Ponnuru, Washington Times]
  • “Government Crowded Out: How Employee Compensation Costs Are Reshaping State and Local Government” [Daniel DiSalvo, Manhattan Institute]
  • Thanks to California Supreme Court, SEIU can tell dissenters we know where you live [DC Examiner, Legal NewsLine] Recalling a furor over member privacy and databases at another large union, UNITE HERE [Labor Union Report, "pink sheeting"]
  • “The fact that it took forced austerity measures for Greece to fire even *corrupt* public servants speaks volumes.” [Christian Science Monitor via @radleybalko]

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Writing at Capital Research Center’s Labor Watch:

A shocking change in American labor relations is brewing at the U.S. Department of Labor, which is expected sometime soon to alter a major regulation. The change involves a new interpretation of the “advice exemption” of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. Specifically, businesses would have to disclose the names of, and fees paid to, attorneys and consultants who advise them on union-organizing activities. In turn, attorneys and consultants providing such advice would be required to disclose their client lists and the fees they receive.

If that sounds like a road map for retaliation and strong-arming, with dangers for traditional attorney-client confidentiality, well, you’re getting the idea. Furchtgott-Roth says the department has evaded regulatory review by low-balling the proposal’s billions of dollars in costs. “The change has no basis in existing law or precedent.”


Schools roundup

by Walter Olson on May 16, 2013


A Sixth Circuit panel declines to strike down a state law under which public schools will no longer withhold union dues from teachers’ salaries. The Michigan Education Association had claimed that Public Act 53 interfered with its First Amendment right to speak. [David Shepardson, Detroit News]


“A law working its way through [the French] parliament would grant amnesty to workers who have ransacked their company’s offices or threatened their bosses during a labor dispute.” [USA Today via Jon Hyman]