District Court Declares Convergys' Class-Action Waivers Unenforceable: Bill Donahue of Law360 ($$) reports that last Friday, a U.S. District Court Judge in Missouri invalidated Convergys Corporation's employee class-action waivers. Judge Carol Jackson, in finding the waivers to be unenforceable, wrote that enforcing the waivers would violate the National Labor Relations Act.
“Collective and class litigation, through which employees band together to challenge employers’ policies on wages and hours, is concerted activity engaged in for the purposes of mutual aid and protection within the meaning of the NLRA,” the judge wrote.
Interestingly, Convergys is engaged in parallel litigation with the National Labor Relations Board. Last fall, an Administrative Law Judge invalidated the company's class-action waivers and the employer appealed the ruling to the full Board, which has yet to make a decision.
Former Chairman Schaumber Says It's Time to Scrap NLRB: Roll Call is carrying an editorial from former National Labor Relations Board Chairman Peter Schaumber, wherein he calls on Congress to scrap the NLRB. In particular, Schaumber argues that the current Board is partisan, acts in defiance of Federal law, and does not act as a collective. Schaumber's solution? Transfer the Board's power to the judiciary.
Transferring the board’s authority to the federal judiciary will give business confidence in its balanced application and the public the assurance that the protection of employee free choice on the question of unionization will be the central focus of this important American labor law.
Schaumber's harsh words will most likely fall on deaf ears, however, particularly because current Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce has already stated that the Board will continue to operate until further notice, which is ostensibly in violation of the D.C. Circuit's recent Noel Canning decision. Schaumber's voice just adds to the growing Conservative consternation surrounding the Board's continued operations. We will keep you posted with any further developments.
Chaos Reigns As Strongsville Teachers Go On Strike: Patrick O'Donnell of the Plain Dealer reports that teachers in Strongsville, OH made good on their threat to go on strike, hitting the picket lines yesterday. Students and parents stated that classrooms were packed to capacity as substitute teachers taught double or triple classes. By midday, the student parking lot was more or less completely empty, although approximately two-thirds of the student body had reported for school.
"There was some chaos in the beginning, lots of challenges," said school board President David Frazee, stressing that the district plans to hire more substitutes every day. "But we believe that every day it's going to get better and better."
Negotiations between the teachers' union and school board officials broke down earlier this month over the calculation of "step raises," although the union has already consented to a static wage scale. Teachers maintain that they deserve raises since the wage scale has not been increased since 2008. Currently, the average Strongsville teacher takes home approximately $65,000 per year.