Publications

2018
Free Speech Rights: Public Employees v. Football Players
Sharon Block and Maddy Joseph. 5/30/2018. “Free Speech Rights: Public Employees v. Football Players.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The NFL players in a very real and direct way are being forced to support publicly the political views of their employers at the behest of the government. The rule forces players to abandon expression of their own strongly held beliefs about racism, police violence, solidarity among NFL players, and the meaning of patriotism. Moreover, by making them stand during the anthem, the rule is meant to force the players to adopt, as Ben put it, “a particular vision of patriotism.” 

The Supreme Court has warned against the danger of government-imposed patriotic orthodoxy. In finding unconstitutional a law that required school children to salute the flag and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, Justice Jackson wrote for the majority in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” 

The NFL’s “take a knee” ban is flatly illegal
Benjamin I. Sachs. 5/25/2018. “The NFL’s “take a knee” ban is flatly illegal.” Vox.com. Publisher's Version
Epic Fall Out: The Supreme Court and Concerted Activity
Benjamin I. Sachs and Sharon Block. 5/23/2018. “Epic Fall Out: The Supreme Court and Concerted Activity.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's Version
A recovery plan for Aaron Schlossberg
Terri Gerstein. 5/23/2018. “A recovery plan for Aaron Schlossberg .” New York Daily News. Publisher's Version
Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Workers
Terri Gerstein and Sharon Block. 5/21/2018. “Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Workers.” New York Times Opinion. Publisher's Version
Stealing From Workers Is a Crime. Why Don’t More Prosecutors See It That Way?
Terri Gerstein. 5/14/2018. “Stealing From Workers Is a Crime. Why Don’t More Prosecutors See It That Way?” The Nation. Publisher's Version
U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy: National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report
5/4/2018. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy: National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report, Pp. 320. University of Chicago Press. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Since the late 1950s, the engineering job market in the United States has been fraught with fears of a shortage of engineering skill and talent. U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy brings clarity to issues of supply and demand in this important market. Following a general overview of engineering-labor market trends, the volume examines the educational pathways of undergraduate engineers and their entry into the labor market, the impact of engineers working in firms on productivity and innovation, and different dimensions of the changing engineering labor market, from licensing to changes in demand and guest worker programs.

The volume provides insights on engineering education, practice, and careers that can inform educational institutions, funding agencies, and policy makers about the challenges facing the United States in developing its engineering workforce in the global economy.
1099 Nation spreads its tentacles: Employees in every sense of the word — but without the benefits
Mark Erlich. 4/10/2018. “1099 Nation spreads its tentacles: Employees in every sense of the word — but without the benefits.” Commonwealth Magazine.
These Americans are trapped in their jobs: they need to pay $10,000 to quit
Terri Gerstein. 4/8/2018. “These Americans are trapped in their jobs: they need to pay $10,000 to quit.” The Guardian. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Why would dozens of news anchors recite a Sinclair Broadcast group script? Because their contracts entrap them

 

Above all, workers and their allies can take the lead in joining together to unearth and combat these abusive practices. Teachers from West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma are rising up, seeking better conditions for themselves and their students. Workers at media companies have been electrified, too, organizing new unions in recent years. 

The Sinclair anchors spoke in unison delivering the company’s message. Maybe one day soon, they can take back the power and again speak in unison, this time delivering their own. 

 

Minor League Baseball players are latest victims of anti-worker Trump and GOP
Sharon Block. 3/29/2018. “Minor League Baseball players are latest victims of anti-worker Trump and GOP.” USA Today. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Congress just killed workplace protections for underpaid minor league baseball players. Notch another win for the 1% under Republicans and Donald Trump.
Alternative Facts at the NLRB
Sharon Block. 3/28/2018. “Alternative Facts at the NLRB.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's Version
Labor Department's program on wage theft enforcement is the wrong approach
Terri Gerstein. 3/22/2018. “Labor Department's program on wage theft enforcement is the wrong approach.” The Hill. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Imagine a robber enters a bank, demands the contents of the safe, flees with bags of cash, and once caught, has to do one thing: return the stolen money and promise not to do it again.  No penalty, no prosecution, no additional deterrent. More people would likely think, "Why not try? If I get caught, the worst that could happen is I would give the money back.”

The federal labor department this month announced a nationwide pilot program which is pretty close to this scenario.  Under the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (PAID) program, the U.S. Department of Labor would enable employers who have underpaid their hard-working employees to simply pay back those wages owed, while avoiding any penalties and damages. It’s a cute acronym for a very bad idea.

Protecting labor rights in preferential trade agreements: The role of trade unions, left governments, and skilled labor
Damian Raess, Andreas Dür, and Dora Sari. 3/6/2018. “Protecting labor rights in preferential trade agreements: The role of trade unions, left governments, and skilled labor.” The Review of International Organizations. Publisher's Version
Board Vacates Hy-Brand, Raising More Questions
Sharon Block. 2/27/2018. “Board Vacates Hy-Brand, Raising More Questions.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board vacated its December decision in Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors.  (Ben and Sharon had called for this action in OnLabor last week here and here.)  The Board’s unusual action follows a finding by the Board’s Inspector General that Member Bill Emanuel should have recused himself from participation in the case.  The Board noted in its press release that because Hy-Brand had been vacated, “the overruling of the Board’s decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, 362 NLRB No. 186 (2015), set forth therein is of no force or effect.”

The Board’s action was a welcome first step in correcting the damage done by the Hy-Brand decision.  Most importantly, for the time being, the Board will determine joint employer status using the standard set forth in Browning-Ferris – a standard that takes into account the reality of today’s fissured workplaces.  Beyond that important restoration, however, the Board’s one sentence order vacating Hy-Brand leaves many questions about the future unanswered.

The NLRB Should Withdraw Hy-Brand . . . AND!
Sharon Block. 2/22/2018. “The NLRB Should Withdraw Hy-Brand . . . AND!” OnLabor.org. Publisher's Version
The NLRB Should Withdraw Hy-Brand
BENJAMIN SACHS. 2/21/2018. “The NLRB Should Withdraw Hy-Brand.” OnLabor.org. Publisher's Version
Washington Post Logo
Sharon Block and BENJAMIN SACHS. 2/9/2018. “The Trump administration is abandoning McDonald’s workers — and everyone else.” Washington Post. Publisher's Version
Uber’s Political Program in the States
BENJAMIN SACHS and Sharon Block. 1/19/2018. “Uber’s Political Program in the States.” onLabor.org. Publisher's Version
Continuing the Labor Law Reform Debate in 2018
BENJAMIN SACHS and Sharon Block. 1/3/2018. “Continuing the Labor Law Reform Debate in 2018.” OnLabor.
Building Trust in a Changing World of Work: The Global Deal for Decent Workand Inclusive Growth Flagship Report 2018
International Labour Organization (ILO). 2018. Building Trust in a Changing World of Work: The Global Deal for Decent Workand Inclusive Growth Flagship Report 2018. Edited by Organisation Economic Co-operation Development for and (OECD). Global Deal Support Unit located in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Dora Sari, LWP Fellow, was ont he ILO team that helped produce this report

 

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