Today’s News & Commentary — December 16
The NLRB has delivered an opinion changing its policy on arbitration agreements, tightening the standards under which it will evaluate the findings of an arbitrator over unfair labor practices before deferring to those findings. The burden of showing why a court should agree to an arbitrator’s standard has now also shifted to the party favoring deferral. Under the board’s new standard, deference to an arbitration award involving an unfair labor practice is appropriate when: “(1) the arbitrator was explicitly authorized to decide the unfair labor practice issue; (2) the arbitrator was presented with and considered the statutory issue, or was prevented from doing so by the party opposing deferral; and (3) Board law reasonably permits the award.” The case is Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co., Inc. and Coletta Kim Beneli (Case 28-CA-022625), and the decision is available in its entirety here. More commentary is available at POLITICO.
A federal judge in Pennsylvania has found President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration unconstitutional. The executive order has given millions of illegal immigrants protection from deportation. In a 38-page ruling, district court Judge Arthur Schwab found that the action goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion.” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Two national hotel-industry groups have filed a suit against the city of Los Angeles, challenging a recent minimum-wage increase as a violation of federal labor law. The Hotel Workers Act, which is slated to take effect in July, would have raised minimum wage in large hotels to $15.37/hour. The groups filing suit – the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association – argue the Act unfairly targets a single industry. The groups further claim that their concern is not the wage increase, but a provision of the act allowing its requirements to be waived by any hotel covered by a collective-bargaining agreement. In doing so, the group argues, the law allows unions to pressure non-unionized hotels to organize. The Wall Street Journal reports.
In international news, strikes at Amazon.com’s shipping centers have expanded to seven of nine German sites. The German services union Verdi is demanding reclassification of workers and wage increases. The Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the New York Times, 90% of New York City teachers received one of top two rankings in a new evaluation system. Most districts had negotiated the specifics of these new systems with teachers’ unions – New York City could not reach an agreement with the United Federation of Teachers, and its system was ultimately imposed by the state.
The United Automobile Workers union will be seeking wage increases for members in 2015 contract talks. Dennis Williams, the U.A.W.’s new president, has commented that workers at General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler deserve a larger share in the success of the companies, particularly after the U.A.W. agreed to lower pay for entry-level jobs. The New York Times reports.
Four unions of Chicago workers have filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming changes to its municiple pension plans are “unfair and unconstitutional.” The lawsuit seeks to permanently overturn changes to the municipal retirement system, which serves about 55,000 workers. The Chicago Tribune reports.