News & Commentary

May 15, 2018

Ross Evans

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

The Teamsters secured a win last week when the NLRB ruled that sixty Disney World employees, who earn extra cash by doubling as “Minnie Van” drivers that can be hailed via the Lyft app, can be represented by the union.  According to the Associated Press, “Disney had argued that the Lyft driver jobs couldn’t be covered by a union since the Teamsters waived their right to represent any workers not mentioned in its five-year contract.”  However, both because this job did not exist when the current CBA was signed, and because this job is so similar to Disney World roles that are covered by the current CBA, regional NLRB director David Cohen held that the waiver was not applicable in this situation.

A study completed by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and Professor Robert Bruno (Director of the University of Illinois’s Labor Education Program) explores the impact that the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus could have on public-sector union membership, The Wall Street Journal reports.  In short, should Janus overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the study estimates that 726,000 public-sector union members could be lost, representing approximately 10% of the 7.2 million public-sector union members nationwide.  A decision in Janus could be issued in the coming weeks, and OnLabor has extensively covered the case’s continual development.

South Korean prosecutors are investigating Samsung for potentially undermining organized-labor activity in the company’s repair unit, reports Reuters.  Indeed, just yesterday, an arrest warrant was issued for a senior Samsung official in regards to the investigation.  In the past, Samsung has been criticized in South Korea for disregarding labor unions and their efforts.

“Which Poor People Shouldn’t Have to Work for Aid?”  The New York Times explores this question today, as it examines how government policies that only consider geography in determining who must work to receive governmental aid such as Medicaid and food stamps could “risk embedding regional and racial biases.”

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and Boston mayor Marty Walsh penned an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal about the importance of infrastructure development in America–both as a sound investment for cities and as a mechanism for economic justice.

In The New York Times Magazine, Yale Professor Beverly Gage analyzes the role of public protests in today’s society, citing recent labor movements such as Arizona teachers’ #RedForEd campaign.  Among other questions, Professor Gage ponders the distinction between a “moment” and a “movement,” as well as whether the “‘rapid turnover’ of today’s movements may actually be a sign of their success.”



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