Today's News & Commentary — February 12

Published February 12th, 2015 -  - 02.12.157


A continuing labor dispute between members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and shipowners continues to cause delays at West Coast seaports, the New York Times reports. Employees and management offer different explanations for the delays. The union says that the owners are deliberately worsening congestion at the ports to gain advantage at the bargaining table. Shipowners have limited night-shift activities and reduced nighttime payroll. The shipowners say that workers are deliberately slowing their work. The Wall Street Journal reports that terminal operators at the port will suspend the loading and unloading of vessels for four days.

The New York Times reports that Halliburton plans to lay off about 7 percent of its workforce. The company says the cuts are in response to falling oil prices. Oil workers continue to strike in Houston, Politico reports. The United Steelworkers made a proposal to Shell Oil to remove contractors and adequately staff facilities to ensure safe operations. The union is still waiting for a response.

In Kansas, Governor Brownback has rescinded a former Governor Sebelius’s order prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, the New York Times reports.  Mr. Brownback says that Ms. Sebelius acted unilaterally and that legislators should not approve any expansion of anti-discrimination laws.

In an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Scott Martelle describes the efforts of several members of the Republican Party to nullify new National Labor Relations Board regulations. The regulations, passed last year, would speed up the union election process and bar legal challenges before employees have an opportunity to vote.

In another Los Angeles Times op-ed, Michael McGough explores lower court’s applications of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, a case in which the Court found a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws. For example, a Cincinnati federal appeals court ruled in favor of employer InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, who fired an employee whose marriage had collapsed.

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