Today’s News & Commentary — March 15, 2018
“Organized labor, once seen as fractured and feckless in the Trump era, gave the Democrat Conor Lamb his edge in Pennsylvania,” says a New York Times analysis of last night’s special election. A Politico analysis also noted Lamb’s strong support from unions, noting that Lamb’s opponent, Rick Saccone, was a strong supporter of “right to work” laws. In the days leading up to the election, NBC detailed Lamb’s labor support here.
Just weeks after the NLRB vacated its decision in Hy-Brand, the Board is being asked to vacate a second decision, in favor of Boeing’s no photos in work areas rule, because of concerns about a conflict of interest by Member William Emanuel. As Bloomberg reports, the ruling “permitted [Boeing] under federal labor law to ban workers from using devices to take photos at certain job sites[,] . . . overturning the NLRB’s 2004 decision in Lutheran Heritage Village-Livonia.” Emanuel’s firm represented Boeing, not in this matter, but in others that raised similar issues.
Strikes continue at universities in the United Kingdom over a plan to convert pensions from defined benefits to a stock-market dependent defined contribution scheme. Members of the University and College Union voted earlier this week to reject a deal that had been negotiated. Their strike will continue for at least a week and may pick up again during student exam period if a deal is not reached before then.
An article in next month’s issue of The Nation argues that the West Virginia teachers won a bigger victory than we’ve been appreciating, emphasizing that the teachers won not just raises but lasting, structural victories, including seats for organized labor on the insurance board and on a health care task force.