News & Commentary

March 13, 2023

Peter Morgan

Peter Morgan is a student at Harvard Law School.

Today’s News and Commentary: UAW secures a new agreement with Caterpillar Inc., Duke declares legal opposition to its grad student union, and the Ohio Senate passes a bill relaxing restriction on child labor laws.

UAW ratified a new contract with Caterpillar Inc. across four locals in Illinois and Pennsylvania. The vote, which occurred over the weekend, covers 7,000 UAW members and brings them a $6,000 ratification bonus, wage increases, a higher 401(k) match, and other benefits. The new contract will last six years.

Duke University announced it would challenge the legal status of their grad student unions by disputing that Ph.D. students are employees. Chris Simmons, current Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations, wrote that Ph.D. students had a “fundamentally different” relationship to the university “from that of employer to employee.” In doing so, Duke signaled its intent to challenge the NLRB’s decision in Columbia University, a 2016 case in which the Board found that graduate students were employees. The Duke Grad Union criticized Duke on Twitter, calling this a “transparent delay tactic” and “union-busting.”

After Arkansas passed a law making it easier for businesses in the state to employ teenage workers last week, Ohio’s legislature has embarked on a similar effort. Citing a workforce shortage, the Ohio Senate passed a bill allowing 14- and 15-year-old workers to work between the hours of 7 and 9 p.m. If passed by the House and signed by the governor, the law would not change how many hours children can work in a given week, even as it would change when they could work those hours.

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