News & Commentary

December 23, 2019

A Truthout op-ed evaluates the current National Labor Relations Board, arguing that under Trump’s administration, the NLRB has become more restrictive of workers’ rights. The author points mainly to two new rules as evidence of tighter restrictions: the recent extension of pre-election hearings from 8 calendar days to 14 business days – meaning workers now have to wait longer after petitioning for an election – and the requirement that all disputes regarding the bargaining unit scope and voter eligibility be litigated and resolved prior to an election. These changes, the author argues, ultimately weaken workers’ access to the NLRB election path. An official list of recent changes in the NLRB rules can be found here.

Meanwhile,  outside of the U.S. context, France reached a historic ruling in its labor law. French criminal court held three former executives liable for the suicides of thirty-five employees. They are charged with “institutional moral harassment”. Former executives of Orange, one France’s telecommunication giants and formerly the national telephone company, are held responsible for creating a toxic corporate culture that led to these suicides. During the company’s massive restructuring in the early 2000s, the company sought to eliminate 22,000 workers and shift another 10,000 into new roles. According to the New York Times, the French court found that these executives engaged in “a conscious scheme to worsen the work conditions of the employees in order to speed up departures.” The convicted executives face fines and several months in prison.

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