Labor Relations Today
@LRToday Morning Round-Up: February 22, 2013
Cleaning Crews at Target Stores Threaten to Strike: Josh Eidelson at The Nation writes that non-union janitors at Target stores in Minnesota are threatening to strike unless their employers agree to meet with them to discuss alleged unfair labor practices by Sunday at noon. The workers, employed by one of three contractors and working at Target stores in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging retaliation for attempting to organize.
“I guess I’d say I’m not scared,” Diversified employee and CTUL activist Alejandro Quirino told The Nation in Spanish. “Because I’m fed up and sick and tired of how they’ve treated us, and how our demands have been ignored. And that’s why I’m going to go on strike. If I get fired, I know I was fighting for what’s right, and putting in what I could to fight for what’s fair.”
A Target spokesperson declined comment, stating that any inquiries should be directed to the employees' actual employers, who happen to be outside contractors.
Board Rules Employee Fired For Discussing Salary Deserves Backpay: Matt Dunning of BusinessInsurance.com reports that Houston, TX-based Jones and Carter, an engineering firm, agreed to pay a former employee over $100,000 for firing her after she discussed her salary with other employees. The National Labor Relations Board had ruled a week prior that her conduct was protected activity under the National Labor Relations Act and that her discharge constituted an unfair labor practice.
According to court documents, Jones & Carter executives testified during an administrative hearing that Ms. Teare had been fired for “harassing” other employees about their salaries, and not merely discussing them. An administrative law judge ruled in Ms. Teare's favor on Nov. 26, 2012, declaring that the company's policy regarding salary discussions among employees constituted an unfair labor practice under federal law.
The Board affirmed the ALJ's ruling on February 8, 2013. While Jones and Carter offered to reinstate the employee, she has declined the offer of renewed employment.
UC Irvine Symposium to Discuss World Without Unions: Matt Coker of the OC Weekly writes that UC Irvine has kicked off a two-day symposium discussing the possibility of a post-union society. In particular, academics and labor lawyers from across the nation have been asked to consider viable alternatives to collective bargaining or improvements that could be made to the Wagner Act. UC Irvine described the panels as follows:
The panelists present a range of ideas and approaches to the challenge. They propose to increase the voice of workers without unions and to increase transparency about workplace standards; they describe and generalize from alliances between labor and environmental groups to change local law regarding independent contractor status; they propose reforms of immigration law, changes in the structure of bargaining and union elections and changes the legal rights and obligations of unions in right to work states.
The symposium promises to be a fascinating exercise for academics. However, it will be interesting to see whether any viable proposals come out of the two-day event. We will be following the developments and will keep you posted if any ideas of note come out of UC Irvine this weekend.
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