News & Commentary

February 29, 2024

Luke Hinrichs

Luke Hinrichs is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary, Law360’s unionized workers authorize a strike; ski patrollers in Lake Tahoe petition for a union election; Apple shareholders reject a labor-backed proposal for an artificial intelligence transparency report; and Amazon lobbyists are barred from the European Parliament.

Unionized editorial workers at Law360, owned by LexisNexis, voted 263-12 to authorize a strike on Monday as contract negotiations with LexisNexis continue to stall. The Law360 Union, representing nearly 300 workers, is part of the NewsGuild of New York-Communications Workers of America. With over 95% of the union’s members voting, 96% voted to approve the strike. The vote comes two weeks after Law360 laid off 10% of its newsroom staff despite parent company LexisNexis’ record profits in 2023.

Ski patrollers at Palisades Tahoe, Lake Tahoe’s largest ski resort, took a significant step toward unionizing. On Monday, 70% of eligible patrollers submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board requesting an election. The Palisades Tahoe Professional Patrol Association is the fourth ski patrol association to seek to join CWA 7781 this year as ski patrollers raise concerns about safety, staffing shortages, and low wages. If the unionization effort is successful, the Association would be the first unionized ski patrol in California.

Apple Inc. investors rejected a shareholder proposal submitted by AFL-CIO Equity Index Funds for an artificial intelligence transparency report, urging disclosure of the ethical guidelines that it follows in adopting AI. The proposal received 37.5% of votes cast. The labor-backed measure cited concerns that AI raises “a number of social policy issues,” including the risk that it may result in biased, adverse decision-making against employees and violate privacy interests. The proposal was read by Michael Forsythe, an Apple retail store employee who successfully helped launch unionization efforts at an Apple store in Oklahoma City. Apple opposed the proposal. The pension trust of the AFL-CIO has proposed similar AI measures at other technology and media companies, including Walt Disney Co., Netflix Inc., and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc.

Amazon lobbyists have been barred from accessing the European Parliament in Brussels at the request of the EU’s committee on employment and social affairs. Dragoș Pîslaru, chair of the committee, explained the move to bar the lobbyists: “Amazon’s refusal to engage in public dialogue with lawmakers has made it impossible for MEPs and European citizens to gain first-hand accounts from the company’s management on the pressing questions and allegations concerning Amazon’s breach of fundamental rights of assembly, association, collective bargaining and action as well as fair and just working conditions.”

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