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Ethics Conflict at NLRB Pushes Agency Into 'Uncharted Territory'

February 23, 2018

By Erin Mulvaney 
The National Law Journal

The NLRB inspector general’s report reinforced the concerns of union attorneys and Democratic senators that Trump-appointed member William Emanuel should not have voted in the Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors case in December that overturned the broad joint-employment standard the Obama-era board set. Emanuel’s former firm, Littler Mendelson, where he’d been a shareholder in Los Angeles, represented a party in the original case Browning-Ferris Industries that expanded joint-employment liability.

Sharon Block, former NLRB member and now executive director of Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program, said the inspector general report makes it clear that the Hy-Brand decision must be invalidated. Block said the board could ask for input from the parties in the case to show why it should or should not validate the decision.

While the board polices itself, the inspector general could also refer his report to the Office of Government Ethics, congressional oversight committees or the U.S. Justice Department, Block said. She said if other employers come to the board with a joint employer case, the issue of Emanuel’s conflict will more than likely be raised.

“This issue undermines the credibility of the board, which is already subject to a lot of political attack,” Block said. “It’s really unfortunate that they have done something that at least feeds that perception.”... Read more about Ethics Conflict at NLRB Pushes Agency Into 'Uncharted Territory'

Tom Perez

Former Labor Secretary Perez says everyone should have a seat at the table

February 16, 2018

Harvard Law Today
Alumni Focus

Tom Perez keynote speaker at John T. Dunlop Memorial Forum Lecture at Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School on February 5, 2018.

"It took decades to lay the foundations for the social compact that flourished in post-war America and created enormous, shared wealth. It could take far less to roll back all the gains that were made, warned Tom Perez M.P.P./J.D. ’87, former Secretary of Labor under President Obama and the current chair of the Democratic National Committee."

“I’m a firm believer that when workers feel like they have a stake in where they’re working, they’re happier and they’re more productive, and it’s win-win,” he said. Perez termed it the John Dunlop theory of governance, after the late Harvard School professor and former Secretary of Labor under President Gerald Ford for whom the lecture is named, “because when you build a big table and give everyone a meaningful seat at the table, you can get really good outcomes.”... Read more about Former Labor Secretary Perez says everyone should have a seat at the table

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Trump’s ‘Tip-Pooling’ Plan Could Screw Your Bartender

February 13, 2018

By Dave Jamieson

The Trump administration is seeking to change wage regulations so that restaurants and other businesses with tipped workers can decide how the gratuities are divvied up.


Sharon Block, a former Labor Department official under Obama, said it’s hard to read the proposal any other way. In adopting a judge’s dissent in a tip-sharing lawsuit, Trump’s team seems to argue that the Labor Department can’t tell an employer what to do ― or not do ― with a worker’s tips if the employer pays the federal...

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John T. Dunlop Memorial Forum:  

  • Tom Perez group shot

    Tom Perez

    with David Weil before forum

  • Benjamin Sachs, Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry at Harvard Law School

    Opening the discussion at the Dunlop Forum

  • David Weil, Dean Heller School, Brandeis

    Former administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the US Department of Labor discussing John Dunlop's life and legacy

  • Tom Perez answering questions from Sharon Block

  • Dunlop Forum, crowd shot
  • Beverly Donahue

    Tom Perez with Beverly Donahue, John Donlop's daughter

  • 2-18 Dunlop Forum - Tom Perez