News & Commentary

February 19, 2018

Ross Evans

Ross Evans is a student at Harvard Law School and a member of the Labor and Employment Lab.

James Damore, the former Google engineer who is infamous for authoring a politically controversial memo that promoted gender stereotypes, was legally fired according to an NLRB memo from January that was not publicly released until Thursday.  The memo, authored by NLRB Associate General Counsel Jayme Sophir, states that “[w]here an employee’s conduct significantly disrupts work processes, creates a hostile work environment, or constitutes racial or sexual discrimination or harassment, the Board has found it unprotected even if it involves concerted activities regarding working conditions.”  Last August, Professor Matthew Bodie examined the potential legal recourse available to Mr. Damore against Google for his firing in a three-part series. See Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

The New York Times explored some of the benefits state and local governments can realize through taxes on ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft in its Sunday edition yesterday.  Chicago, for example, just increased its per-ride fee from fifty cents to sixty-five cents, with the additional fifteen cents per ride–an amount expected to total $16 million this year–exclusively earmarked for the Chicago Transit Authority.  New York may even attempt to address increasing traffic congestion in Manhattan through surcharges of “$2 to $5 per ride that would be among the highest in the nation–and could generate up to $605 million a year for the city’s failing subway system.”

David Rolf, President of SEIU 775–a 45,000-member long-term-care-worker union in Washington and Montana–shared his perspective on the future of organized labor on the Seattle Times‘ politics podcast last week.  Among the topics discussed is the Janus v. AFCSME case, which is scheduled for arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court next Monday, February 26.  Our blog has covered Janus and its potential implications extensively.

New York City’s ten-year labor battle with the New York City District Council of Carpenters ended on Wednesday when the carpenters’ union approved a new agreement.  Under the deal, the city “will restore the 39 days of leave time that it took from some carpenters’ union employees, and pay an average of $10,000 in back annuity payments.”  Additionally, the carpenters’ union will drop its lawsuit against the city, which alleged violations of state labor laws.


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