News & Commentary

April 19, 2023

Peter Morgan

Peter Morgan is a student at Harvard Law School.

Today: UTLA reaches a tentative agreement, Comcast NBCUniversal is revealed to hold a role-playing exercise opposing unionization, the Texas House passes a bill restricting labor regulations, and a retail Barnes & Noble store announces organizing campaign.

The United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) union has announced that the member bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the district. The agreement, which would have to be voted on by all members and ratified by the school board, includes a 21% salary increase, class size reductions, and increased staffing of psychologists and other counselor positions.

Documents revealed that Comcast’s NBCUniversal held a role-playing exercise for managers to discourage unionization. According to reports, managers were instructed to play the role of a union leader and come up with reasons for why employees shouldn’t unionize. Company leadership noted this only occurred once in the last four years, but the company’s documents stated that “corporate management will not tolerate losing…nonunion status.” These kinds of statements have come under fire as potentially violative of labor law.

The Texas House of Representatives has passed House Bill 2127, which would prevent local governments from enacting certain regulations related to employment, housing, and other issues. The bill, passed under the rationale of providing uniform business conditions, would also overturn some existing labor regulations. The scope of the bill remains unclear, causing concern among labor advocates.

Workers at a Barnes & Noble store in Hadley, Massachusetts have announced their intention to unionize with the Union Food and Commercial Workers Local 1459. The workers cited concerns about low wages, limited benefits, inadequate staffing, and customer accessibility  as reasons for their decision to unionize. This is the second Barnes & Noble store to file for an election (the first being a university store at Rutgers). If successful, the unionization effort could make the Hadley Barnes & Noble store the first unionized location in the company’s history.

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