News & Commentary

March 28, 2018

Teachers are suing the U.S. Department of Education and loan servicing companies like FedLoan for their practice of converting grants for teachers to loans. Since 2008, the federal government has offered TEACH grants to encourage teachers to teach in low-income schools. These grants can be up to $4000, as long as teachers fulfill their 4-year commitment in an 8-year time span. But missing any requirements, including strict annual filing deadlines, can trigger the conversation of the grant to a loan. Of teachers surveyed, one in three who had their grants converted to loans believed they were likely or very likely to complete the service requirements. There is no appeal process.

The City University of New York (CUNY) is struggling with providing a safe working environment for its food vendors and employees. CUNY relies on nonprofits on each campus, who hire food vendors that often do not have unionized workers. In a survey of CUNY’s food service workers, 19% reported being injured on the job — with most suffering falls, cuts and burns — compared to a national rate of 3 percent. Nearly half reported an annual household income of under $30,000 and about four-fifths were on Medicaid. CUNY plans to reign in the foundations it relies on and tighten requirements for vendors.

The D.C. Circuit ruled Tuesday that T-Mobile violated its agreement with its union when, on notice that the union had lost majority support, the company chose to bargain with the union only on select issues. Based on the NLRB’s earlier decision in Levitz Furniture Co. of the Pacific, 333 NLRB 717 (2001), the company had the right to either withdraw from negotiations altogether or continue to honor all of its bargaining obligations with the union. There was no third option.

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