News & Commentary

March 20, 2024

Everest Fang

Everest Fang is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary: Dartmouth refuses to bargain with newly-formed players’ union, Connecticut lawmakers consider universal mandated sick time, and New England union leaders call for offshore wind contractors to adopt high labor standards.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the Dartmouth College men’s basketball team’s historic vote to form a union. On Monday, the school said that it will not enter into collective bargaining with the newly-formed union. Dartmouth spokesperson Jana Barnello explained that the college would defy any NLRB order requiring it to bargain with the players’ union. The school’s appeal of an NLRB regional director’s decision classifying the athletes as employees is still pending before the full board. If the board rejects Dartmouth’s appeal, Barnello stated that the school will continue to refuse to bargain with the union in order to spark unfair labor practice proceedings. By taking these steps, the school hopes to get the matter reviewed by a federal court.

State lawmakers in Connecticut are considering a bill that would expand mandated sick time to every employer in the state. Under the state’s current law, only employers with more than 50 employees are required to provide paid sick days. The new proposal would also allow workers to use their sick days to care for parents and domestic partners. Under the current law, workers are limited to using their sick days to care for themselves, a spouse, or their child. On Tuesday, Governor Ned Lamont urged the legislature to pass the new bill, saying during a press conference that too many people are unprotected by the current system. Lamont stressed the dangers of compelling employees to go to work while sick, drawing on the COVID-19 pandemic as a lesson for the state.

In October, the governors of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts agreed to jointly pursue offshore wind proposals for up to 6 gigawatts of power. Four companies are expected to bid on the proposal — Avangrid, Ørsted, Southcoast Wind and Vineyard Offshore. In a joint virtual conference last week, union leaders from the three states called on these companies to commit to adopting high labor and wage standards, and ensure that permanent workers can form unions. Connecticut AFL-CIO President Ed Hawthorne stressed that the country cannot build its way out of the climate crisis with “low-paying, exploitative jobs.” He emphasized that workers must not only be involved in energy transition discussions, but should also lead them. The conference illustrates labor’s broader effort to secure favorable working conditions in the green transition, and shape the federal strategy to combat climate change.

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