News & Commentary

May 13, 2016

The New York Times reports that members of the City University of New York Union, which includes faculty members and employees, voted overwhelmingly to allow a strike if the mediator on the case is unable to reach an agreement with the administration.  Although any such strike would not take place until the fall and state law leaves strikers vulnerable fines, a shocking 92% of the 10,000 union members to cast ballots said yes to a possible walkout.  Having been without a contract and without salary increases since 2010, union members are understandably frustrated.  A CUNY spokesman said that there have been several mediation sessions and meetings and that settling on a contract with faculty and staff is “of the highest priority.”

According to Politico, top labor unions are teaming up with Tom Steyer to engineer a new super PAC with the aims of taking down Donald Trump in key states and building a lasting liberal spending infrastructure.  So far, top officials from AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association have joined in the partnership with billionaire environmentalist Steyer’s group, NextGen Climate.

Nike will expand its paid family leave policy, per the Wall Street Journal.  The company will offer eight weeks of paid leave to parents of newborns or adopted children as well as to workers caring for a sick relative.  The generous policy will extend to full-time U.S.-based employees that work 30 or more hours/week.  Significantly, this marks the first time that Nike will include fathers in its paid leave plan.

JDSupra highlights some of the implications of the new Federal Trade Secrets Act, signed into law by President Obanma earlier this week.  For the first time, the legislation provides companies with a private federal right of action for civil suits over trade secrets theft, so long as the secret is “related to a produce or service used in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign commerce.”  Possible remedies include both injunctive relief and damages, and a unique seizure provisions allows plaintiffs to request courts to order the seizure of property “necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination of the trade secret,” even without a hearing or answer from the other side.

The Wall Street Journal reports that initial jobless claims spiked again last week at a seasonally-adjusted 294,000 reaching the highest level since February 2015.  Still, most economists say it’s too early to get worried since unemployment claims remain at a historically low level and are unaccompanied by other signals that labor demand is weakening.

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