News & Commentary

September 16, 2016

Leora Smith

Leora Smith is a student at Harvard Law School.

New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday that he will be launching a campaign to pass “Fair Workweek” legislation guaranteeing workers more notice in scheduling. The announcement was made outside of a McDonald’s and the legislation, like New York’s recent minimum wage raises, will focus on fast food workers. Specifically the legislation will require employers to post schedules at least two weeks in advance, provide compensation for last-minute changes to schedules, and address concerns about “clopenings” shifts that require workers to staff both opening and closing. The City of New York’s official announcement states that “nearly one in five Americans has an unstable work schedule and about 40 percent of early career workers, defined as workers aged 26-32, have less than one week advance notice of their schedules.” Read the full announcement here. 

In related news, the Fight for $15 influence is fanning out and up – the province of Alberta just became the first in Canada to commit to raising the minimum wage to $15/hour. The raise will be gradual and will reach $15 in 2018. The province also committed to ending the policy of minimum wage differentials between liquor servers, such as bartenders, and other workers.

Back in the U.S.A, the Ninth Circuit joined the Seventh this week in refusing to uphold class-action waivers in employment disputes. In the case, Morris v. Ernst & Young, the court held that companies cannot force employees to pursue their claims as individuals, because doing so violates collective action rights guaranteed in the National Labor Relations Act. Reuters points out that the decision deepens the circuit split on this question – making it likely that the Supreme Court will eventually need to rule on the issue. Read more of OnLabor’s coverage of this issue here. 

Cathy Feingold, Director of the International Department at the AFL-CIO, argues in an article on that it’s time for international law to tackle forced labor in global supply chains. She lays out a proposal for an International Labor Organization convention and the need for complementary domestic legislation in countries that host corporations employing workers abroad. The article is part of a debate on the question, “Can corporations be trusted to tackle modern day slavery?” Read the full series, and responses from other policy-influencers including Urmila Bhoola, the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, here.



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