Daily News & Commentary—July 18, 2017
Tufts Medical Center nurses returned to work yesterday, ending a four-day lockout. As we recapped this weekend, the Massachusetts Nurses Association struck last Wednesday in the midst of a contract dispute. Tufts hired replacement nurses, whose five-day contracts led to the lockout. The Boston Globe raises the possibility that patient care worsened during the strike and lockout. Despite Mayor Marty Walsh’s urging that parties return to the bargaining table, no bargaining sessions are scheduled.
The Department of Homeland Security made 15,000 additional H-2B visas available for temporary nonagricultural workers on Monday. To obtain these visas, businesses must show that they are necessary to avoid irreparable harm—either severe financial loss or an inability to meet contract obligations. The announcement comes in the middle of the Trump Administration’s ‘Made in America’ week, which we wrote about yesterday.
Where other states have defanged non-compete clauses in employment contracts, Idaho has doubled down. Formerly, an employer alleging breach of the non-compete was required to demonstrate that a worker’s move harmed legitimate business interests. Now, the worker defending such a lawsuit must show that she cannot harm the former employer. This change impacts only “key” employees and independent contractors. We have written previously about non-competes here.
The NLRB’s recent brief in the Ninth Circuit case Wal-Mart Stores v. NLRB argues that a brief work stoppage organized by a union-backed group is statutorily protected activity. It was therefore an unfair labor practice for Wal-Mart to punish participating workers. Wal-Mart’s brief contends that the stoppage was a form of union solicitation, which is prohibited. Amici business groups emphasize the distinction between strikes where workers walk off the job and in-store work stoppages, asking if restaurant staff should be permitted to picket at customers’ tables.