The anniversary of the first lockdowns in the United States approaches, but even as optimism concerning the possibility of returning to “normal” mounts, many companies plan to retain work-from-home models regardless of the status of the pandemic. In a Stanford and University of Chicago survey of over 17,000 workers, 27.3% said they would prefer to work from home 5 days a week. The remaining 48.9% said they’d like to work from home 1-4 days a week. Only 23.9% said they would “Rarely” or “Never” would want to work from home ‘after’ covid. Some employers, too, appear prepared to accommodate these preferences: Facebook indicated that it would adjust the salaries of its employees according to the cost of labor at the location at which they work. Microsoft has followed suit, recently indicating that remote employees must inform the company of the location from which they work, as the company’s compensation scale differs by location. Indeed, some companies are encouraging relocation on the basis of labor costs: Stripe Inc. has offered employees leaving New York, San Francisco, or Seattle the chance a one-time $20,000 moving expenses bonus if they agree to a salary cut of up to 10%.

In a video shared to his Presidential Twitter page, Joe Biden released a statement in support of organizing Alabama Amazon workers (although he did not mention the company by name). “Today and over the next few days and weeks, workers in Alabama and all across America are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace,” Biden remarked. He went on to discourage employer interference in union elections: “There should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda. No supervisor should confront employees about their union preferences.”

Last Thursday, Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina issued a recommended ruling upholding broader limitations on dues collection while striking down state farmworker organizing restrictions. The case, Farm Labor Org. Comm. v. Stein, concerns a challenge by the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) to a provision in the North Carolina Farm Act of 2017 which bars farmworker unions from entering into agreements with employers to have union dues transferred from paychecks, requiring North Carolina unions to collect dues from members directly. The Judge rejected the union’s claim that the dues-transfer prohibition violates its First Amendment rights. Auld also recommended striking down the part of the law which bars farmworkers’ unions from demanding voluntary recognition as part of class-wide settlements with employers to resolve disputes over hours, wages, and other workplace issues. Auld’s ruling must be ratified by a federal district judge, and is assigned to U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs.