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Today’s News & Commentary — May 22, 2018

Published May 22nd, 2018 -

Workers’ rights took a hit from a split Supreme Court yesterday in a 5-4 decision written by Justice Gorsuch that resolved three cases: Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, NLRB v. Murphy Oil, and Ernst & Young, LLP v. Morris.  OnLabor’s Maddy Joseph summarized the court’s decision in an extensive analysis yesterday, writing that More »

Murphy Oil Opinion

Published May 21st, 2018 -

The Supreme Court holds this morning in Murphy Oil that class and collective action bars in arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and are not incompatible with the NLRA.  The majority opinion by Justice Gorsuch is notable for its reading of Section 7 as not protecting recourse to group litigation processes.  Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan d... More »

Today’s News & Commentary — May 21, 2018

Published May 21st, 2018 -

The Editorial Board of the New York Daily News yesterday drew attention to what has been a repeated “pilgrimage” in a stymied search for equal rights and fair treatment: the yearly trip of “some of New York State’s 100,000 field hands to the Capitol” to ask for rights to overtime pay, an unpaid weekly day off, and collective bargaining.  Farmworkers across the state (“dairy workers from Western Ne... More »

Weekend News & Commentary — May 19–20, 2018

Published May 20th, 2018 -

Cornell University violated the National Labor Relations Act in March of 2017, but Cornell Graduate Students United (CGSU) will not receive a unionization revote, an independent arbitrator ruled last week.  In an email sent twenty-four hours prior to the election to unionize 2500 graduate research and teaching assistants, Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara Knuth stated tha... More »

Competitive Enterprise Institute Enters the Gig Flexibility Debate

Published May 18th, 2018 -

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has weighed in on our debate over flexibility in the gig economy with a new piece by Trey Kovacs. Their bottom line: they agree with my analysis of the law but object to the “burdens” (what I’d call minimum basic protections) that employment law imposes on employers: If government did not impose so many added costs and liabilities on the emplo... More »

Uber, Flexibility and Employee Status

Published May 18th, 2018 -

Professor Estlund argues that if gig firms have to classify their workers as employees (as I believe the law now requires, and as the Dynamex decision makes more likely), those firms will respond by “exercising greater control over hours and scheduling, and that workers will therefore lose flexibility.” As I wrote in an earlier post, it is true that gig firms might respond in this way ... More »

Today’s News & Commentary — May 18, 2018

Published May 18th, 2018 -

The Louisiana legislature passed a bill expanding the state’s prison labor program. The bill already passed the State Senate, and Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign it into law.  Incarcerated individuals who currently work in the Louisiana prison system are paid between 4 and 70 cents an hour.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has pointed out that these close-to-0 wages incentivize the g... More »

Why Flexibility is Not Just a Trope

Published May 17th, 2018 -

The so-called “flexibility trope” that Professor Sachs identifies and dismantles in his recent post is, I fear, a bit of a red herring.  When Uber or other gig economy firms argue that workers will lose flexibility if they are classified as employees, I do not think they are saying that they will be legally required to exercise greater control over workers’ hours in that event.  Professor Sachs is... More »

Today’s News and Commentary — May 17, 2018

Published May 17th, 2018 -

A group of MIT engineers have managed to replace human chefs with robots, and a new restaurant in Boston will now operate with a fully robotic kitchen. The restaurant, named Spyce, will serve mostly vegetarian meals under the supervision of Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud. Every human role in the restaurant will be automated, including touch-screens for ordering, automatic hot water jets to cl... More »

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