News & Commentary

May 26, 2021

Mackenzie Bouverat

Mackenzie Bouverat is a student at Harvard Law School.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists union has filed an unfair labor practice claim against New York Public Radio after NYPR laid off 14 employees, including a shop steward. In a tweet, the union alleges that “was fired for doing his job, asking questions and helping members.” The complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board, as well as SAG-AFTRA’s press release, alleges that the station and WNYC Editor-in-Chief Audrey Cooper have been “engaging in surveillance and providing the impression of surveillance” of union activity, “ignoring the contractual grievance process and collective bargaining agreement” and issuing “disciplines, warnings and threats” to employees.

In the wake of a corruption scandal involving the embezzlement of over $1.5 million in union money by officials, hundreds of UAW members support a campaign to have the UAW hold direct elections for union president. For the past seventy years, the UAW has been run by a single party or caucus, with each union president having considerable sway in choosing his successor. A referendum on the matter, overseen by a judge-appointed independent monitor, is scheduled for early September 2021. Scott Houldieson, a Chicago-based UAW member, said on the matter: “The corruption scandal is just a symptom of the UAW’s one-party state. We’re hoping that with direct elections, we can break up the one-party state and have checks and balances to not only prevent future corruption, but to get back to our relationship of fighting for the betterment of our members, rather than collaborating with the companies. I think that when members have the ability to directly elect the top leaders who represent them, it’s going to make a big difference.”

A False Claims Act whistleblower asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review a July 2019 decision to vacate a $1.5 million jury award for unlawful retaliation against ManTech International Corp., arguing in his petition for review that a lower court relied on an “outdated” version of the False Claims Act to side with the NASA contractor in Lillie v. ManTech Int’l Corp. , U.S., No. 20-1625, 5/24/21. David Lillie, the petitioner, alleged he was fired for calling attention to ManTech’s failure to comply with rules to protect the files of another NASA contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp. According to Lillie’s petition docketed Monday, the district court erred by not relying on a 2009 FCA amendment that expanded the scope of protection for whistleblowers such that it applied to Lillie. The amendments extend whistleblower protection to cover not only those who actually file a whistleblower suit, but also those who refuse to participate in wrongdoing.

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.