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'Energetically Corrupt' Mulvaney Gave Green Light to Delete Data on Trump's Tip-Stealing Rule

March 21, 2018

byJake Johnson, staff writer
Common Dreams

"Further revealing how far the Trump administration is willing to go to "actively make workers' lives worse," Bloomberg Law reported on Wednesday that White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney personally approved the Labor Department's decision to delete an internal analysis showing that its proposed "tip-sharing rule" would allow companies to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from their employees per year."

"The story about how Secretary Acosta pushed out the tip stealing rule while hiding the cost from the...

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All Demand is Local: Why Donors Remain Bullish on STEM Education

March 8, 2018

By Mike Scutari
Inside Philanthropy

Michael Teitelbaum's book, titled Falling Behind? Boom, Bust and the Global Race for Scientific Talent  argues that corporate and political leaders have been sounding the alarm about a STEM shortage ever since the end of World War II. And every time they do, enrollments surge, generating too many graduates and not enough jobs.

Yet there is a surging demand in computer occupations, especially in certain parts of the country. And those donors who are helping universities meet that demand are definitely on the right track.

Ultimately, donors' unrelenting focus on STEM education is a reminder of how often philanthropy is driven by local factors or the challenges of specific institutions. While there may be a glut of STEM graduates at the broadly defined macro-level, the employers and university administrators attuned to nuances of their respective ecosystems have concluded there’s a shortage.

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New Leading Questions episode: Sharon Block on loving labor

March 6, 2018

Posted by Evelyn Douek
in Poscast 
The Harvard Law Record

Evelyn and Hannah spoke with Sharon Block, the Executive Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at HLS, about her two decades of service in labor policy positions across the federal government, what it’s like in the West Wing, and staying positive through difficult career transitions.

[Link to Soundcloud]... Read more about New Leading Questions episode: Sharon Block on loving labor

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Labor Board Scraps Controversial Joint Employer Decision (Updated)

February 26, 2018

By Hassan Kanu and Chris Opfer
in Bloomberg Law

The National Labor Relations Board is taking a redo on its controversial decision to limit joint employer liability for affiliated businesses, thanks to ethics questions surrounding Member William Emanuel’s (R) participation in the case.

The board announced today that it has vacated its decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors. A Republican-majority NLRB in December used the Hy-Brand case to scrap an expansive Obama-era legal test that made it easier to tag affiliated businesses as joint employers. It overturned a previous decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, a case then pending before a federal appeals court that Emanuel’s former law firm participated in.

“This was one of the most important issues that this board was going to deal with and everyone knew that his firm was involved,” former NLRB member Sharon Block told Bloomberg Law of Emanuel’s participation in the case. The board “broke precedent in dealing with an issue of this magnitude” by taking up the joint employment question in a case in which it could have been avoided, Block added.

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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.... 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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Trump’s Labor Board Is Making it Even More Difficult to Unionize Fast-Food Workers

February 9, 2018

By Michelle Chen
The Nation

In a jarring reversal of fortunes, a pending National Labor Relations Board case that was supposed to be a weapon for unionizing hundreds of thousands of low-wage fast-food workers under Obama may now morph into an anti-labor bludgeon for big business under Trump. The fate of one of the country’s largest poverty-wage workforces now hangs on an arcane legal debate over whether McDonald’s can be held responsible as a formal employer for all the workers who toil under the Golden Arches.

According to Sharon Block...

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The Trump administration is abandoning McDonald’s workers — and everyone else

February 9, 2018

By Sharon Block and Benjamin Sachs
Washington Post

For the past three years, the federal government has painstakingly built a case against the world’s second-largest private employer, McDonald’s, charging the company with illegally harassing and terminating employees who have gone on strike with the “Fight for $15″ campaign.


Last month, shortly before the trial was expected to conclude, Peter Robb, the general counsel Trump appointed to the NLRB, announced that he wanted to halt the trial to settle the case with McDonald’s and its franchisees.

Settling a case might not sound so bad. But in this instance, “settling” is a euphemism for abandoning at the 11th hour a groundbreaking inquiry into whether a major employer like McDonald’s should be held accountable for violating the rights of its low-paid workers.... Read more about The Trump administration is abandoning McDonald’s workers — and everyone else

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Local landmark

February 8, 2018

By Scott Reeder
Illinois Times

Janus doesn’t belong to the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees but must pay about $500 of the $70,000 he earns a year to the union in what are called “agency” or “fair share” fees. On Feb. 26 the United States Supreme Court will hear his case. At stake is whether government workers should, as a condition of employment, be compelled to pay money to a union. 

“I would say this case has the potential to be a landmark case,” Harvard University Law Professor Benjamin Sachs told Illinois Times. “Essentially, if the court rules in Mr. Janus’ favor, it would put every government worker in the United States under a right-to-work regime.”... Read more about Local landmark