Today’s News & Commentary — August 27, 2015

Published August 27th, 2015 -  - 08.27.153


Reuters reports that the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned an $18.77 million award to workers at a Tyson Foods meat processing plant in a wage and hour suit.  The court also rejected a $4.96 million award to workers at a different plant.  Workers alleged that Tyson did not pay them for time spent on activities before and after their shifts for activities “such as putting on and taking off required clothing; cleaning and maintaining equipment; and walking to and from the production line, lockers and wash stations.”  The court found there was insufficient evidence of an agreement to pay the workers for the activities, and so the claims failed as a matter of law.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the average union election time has fallen 40% since a new N.L.R.B. regulation for private-sector workplaces took effect earlier this year.  Since the regulation took effect in April, the average election process has taken 3 weeks, as opposed to 5 weeks or more during fiscal year 2014.

The Gap will become the most recent retailer to abandon the controversial practice of “on-call scheduling,” notes The New York Times.  Workers will no longer have to call ahead and be available for last-minute shifts, and will have 10 to 14 days’ notice of their shifts.  The lack of predictability of work schedules ensuing from the former practice drew criticism from regulators and advocates, and studies showed it had averse affects on families.

WNYC published a story on the New York court battle over teacher tenure.  The plaintiffs, parents of children in schools, allege tenure rules violate students’ rights to education under the state constitution.  State officials and teachers unions are seeking dismissal of the suit because they believe recent changes to the tenure system address the plaintiffs’ concerns.  Judge Philip Minardo was apparently skeptical of the move for dismissal.

The Boston Globe reports on a WalletHub study of which states are the most gender-egalitarian, based upon data from federal agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The study took into account workplace environment, education, and political empowerment as well as pay, number of executives, and unemployment rate.  Hawaii, New York and Illinois scored highest, while South Carolina, Idaho and Utah were last.  Across the board, women still hold a disproportionately low number of workplace leadership roles and make less money then men.

Additionally, KGO-TV notes that a new report from Glassdoor found that, on average, a tech company CEO earned almost 204 times what an average worker at their company earned in 2014.  Oracle had one of the highest pay gaps, at 573 times the average worker salary, while Facebook had one of the smallest, at only 4 times more than the worker average.

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