Weekend News & Commentary — August 28, 2016

The employees who run Access-A-Ride, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s service for people with disabilities, may be earning a $15 minimum wage by 2018. The employees work for Global Contact Services, which contracts with the M.T.A. to run Access-A-Ride. The employees’ union, Transport Workers Union Local 100, held negotiations with Global Contact Services over working conditions and wages. Under the new agreement, Global Contact Services will gradually increase wages to $15 for new workers and $15.40 for experienced workers by the end of 2018. The workers are expected to vote on the new agreement in September. Many workers had previously earned $9-$11 an hour. The union cited Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s new $15 minimum wage proposal for New York state workers as a reason why workers deserved a raise.

Last Tuesday, the NLRB held in Seattle University, 364 NLRB No.84 and Saint Xavier University, 364 NLRB No. 85 that faculty in the religious studies departments of the two religiously affiliated universities were not subject to NLRB jurisdiction. In reaching their decisions, the Board applied its test from Pacific Lutheran, 361 NLRB No. 157, which limits NLRB jurisdiction over faculty members where 1) the university holds itself out as providing a religious educational environment, and 2) the university holds out the faculty members in question as performing a specific role in creating or maintaining the religious educational environment. Though the Board found that the religious studies department faculty met both requirements, the Board denied review of a Regional Director’s finding that the rest of the faculty did not.