Wisconsin Bargaining Law Upheld by 7th Circuit: Michael Bologna of Bloomberg BNA ($$) reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has upheld Wisconsin’s 2011 law limiting collective bargaining rights of the majority of public sector workers. In so doing, the Court reversed an earlier District Court ruling invalidating the law. The Seventh Circuit held, contrary to the District Court, that the law did not violate the equal protection clause even though the law strips collective bargaining rights for public workers, but not public safety employees. Governor Scott Walker trumpeted the ruling.
“Today’s court ruling is a victory for Wisconsin taxpayers,’’ Walker commented in a statement. “The provisions contained in Act 10, which have been upheld in federal court, were vital in balancing Wisconsin’s $3.6 billion budget deficit without increasing taxes, without massive public employee layoffs, and without cuts to programs like Medicaid.’’
Representatives of AFSCME also released a statement expressing their disappointment with the Court’s ruling. However, this is not the end of the road because two additional suits challenging the law on other grounds are pending. We will certainly keep you posted as to any updates.
Forbes Magazine Examines Board Social Media Policies: Susan Adams of Forbes Online has published an interesting analysis of recent National Labor Relations Board decisions regarding social media policies. Answering the question, "When Is It OK to Diss Your Boss Online," Adams discusses that while the most recent Board rulings seem to include most statements by employees as "protected and concerted activities," those statements cannot be gripes that only affect the single employee. While the Board offers broad protections to employees, some commentators advise against making such posting regardless.
“Even if it’s technically protected by the NLRA, it’s not going to make your boss like you or smooth your road at work when the company learns about this.”
The case law in this area is new and is continuing to evolve as the full Board makes further decisions regarding social media in the workplace.
Nurses Protest in Vallejo, CA: Rachel Raskin-Zrihen of the San Jose Mercury News reports that registered nurses at Sutter Solano in Vallejo, California protested outside of Sutter’s facility Tuesday. The protests were aimed at Sutter officials who allegedly threatened disciplinary action against striking nurses.
"Nurses, united, can never be defeated!" they shouted. Two speakers suggested that because nurses are predominantly women, management sees them as "expendable," and treat them accordingly. Hospital officials denied such claims.
Union officials have filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board and have also filed grievances against Sutter Solano. We will keep you posted as this dispute unfolds.