labor unions

  • September 19, 2017
    Guest Post

    by Ann C. Hodges, Professor of Law, University of Richmond

    It is no surprise to observers of labor relations that the Supreme Court is once again considering a petition for certiorari in a case challenging the only reliable source of union funds. Well-funded interest groups have long sought to limit unions’ power by restricting their ability to charge for services they are required by law to provide. The petition currently pending in Janus v. AFSCME rehashes the same arguments rejected by the Supreme Court forty years ago in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and downplays subsequent legal developments that support reaffirmation of the decision in Abood.

  • January 14, 2016

    by Jim Thompson

    In Jacobin, Chris Maisano recounts the legal battles that precipitated Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association and writes, “Unions are holding out hope that the principle of stare decisis will prevent the court from upending the entire structure of public-sector labor relations, and that Justice Scalia will maintain his historic concern with the free-rider problem. However, even if the court did not fully reverse Abood and impose a national right-to-work regime on the public sector, it is likely it would still rule in a way that would hamstring union activity.”

    Jerame Davis at The Advocate explains why a ruling in favor of Friedrichs’ petitioners would have disastrous consequences for the LGBT community.   

    On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that corporations can no longer prevent public access to court records by settling a case before a court has the chance to make a final determination, making the “settle-and-conceal model of handling corporate misconduct much more difficult to pull off,” says Jennifer Bennett at Public Justice.

    On Friday, the Supreme Court will consider whether to review a November 2015 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that upheld an injunction on President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens and Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, reports Simon Lazarus at The New Republic

  • November 17, 2015
    Guest Post

    by Michael Selmi, the Samuel Tyler Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School

    *This post is part of ACSblog’s Symposium on Labor and Economic Inequality.

    It is the best of times and worst of times for workers. On the upside, the plight of workers is receiving national attention, particularly low-wage workers, with a proliferation of initiatives to raise the minimum wage and to fight wage theft. At the same time, union membership continues to decline, now at below seven percent of the private workforce, with little indication of any likely rebound. Efforts to modify the legal structure to make union organizing more practical have been stymied in Congress, and again there is no reason to believe the law will change any time soon. 

    These parallel developments – an increased focus on employee well-being and the diminished influence of unions – should be in tension with one another given that for the last hundred years, unions have played a central (some would say the central) role in improving the employment conditions of workers. But it turns out that unions, as well as the Obama administration and other entities dedicated to worker welfare, have adopted a variety of creative means to improve working conditions.

    Take the most salient change over the last five years: minimum wage laws. Despite broad public support for increasing the minimum wage (including by a majority of Republicans in a recent Pew Research center poll), the federal minimum wage remains stalled at $7.25 an hour, significantly below its historical level once inflation is taken into account. President Obama initiated a campaign to move the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and later mandated such a wage for federal contractors, a move that required no Congressional action. With federal legislation stalled, more than 20 states have taken action to raise their minimum wage, including by popular vote in the deep red states of Arkansas and Nebraska.

  • July 24, 2015

    by Jim Thompson

    Terri Lively quotes ACS President Caroline Fredrickson in a Fortune article about our misguided views on overtime pay and the challenges this creates for working parents.   

    Heather Digby Parton reports at Salon about the frequent and dangerous use of force by America’s police.  

    At Jacobin, Jennifer Mittelstadt discusses the exclusionary realities of the New Deal and imagines a more inclusive, socially-responsible welfare system.  

    In The Washington Post, Harold Meyerson discusses the partisan implications of a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the forthcoming Supreme Court case Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association.

  • January 27, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    In The New York Times, Nicholas Confessore writes that the Koch brothers’ pledge to spend $889 million in the 2016 campaign is on par with both parties’ spending.

    David Savage reports in the Los Angeles Times on the Supreme Court’s decision that casts doubts on health benefits for union retirees.

    At Bloomberg News, Greg Stohr writes that Oklahoma’s step to find an alternative drug for executions leaves the Supreme Court case about lethal injection in question.

    Lauren-Brooke Eisen considers the future of grand jury reform at the blog for the Brennan Center for Justice.

    At Slate, Kathryn Kolbert explains how Texas used bad science in order to restrict abortion access.

    Stephanie Gallman of CNN reports that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency in the case of Warren Hill, a man with a lifelong intellectual disability. ACSblog featured a guest blog on the case last week.