Labor union leaders have called an “emergency meeting” this Friday in an attempt to counter any interference with the casting or counting of ballots from President Trump’s campaign. Trump’s campaign has announced that it is recruiting an “army” of volunteers that will monitor the polls. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other labor officials are worried that Trump’s repeated suggestions that he will not accept an election loss is “a clear and present danger to the election, our democracy and the future of the country.” Labor groups in support of Biden are looking to prevent any ballot interference as well as any resistance to a transfer of power if Biden wins the election. While it is uncertain what kind of confrontation will occur at polling places, progressive groups are planning to come prepared to help people vote freely and safely.
On September 22, Trump expanded his ban on the use of federal money for diversity training aimed at critical race theory to the U.S. military, government contractors, and other federal grantees. The Labor Department has been working on giving federal contractors a clear answer on whether they can host unconscious bias trainings without violating this new order. The executive order bans diversity and inclusion training that it deems “divisive,” and the Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has created a hotline where people can call to report “race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.” Craig Leens, OFCCP director, has stated that unconscious bias training is allowed under the new order with a significant caveat that it must be based on the idea that every person has certain biases and should aim to mitigate prejudices in decision-making, rather than focusing on a particular subset of biases based on race or gender. Contractors who violate this ban risk having their contracts cancelled and may shy away from any diversity and inclusion training as a result. The Justice Department has suspended all diversity and inclusion training for agencies until further guidelines are established.
The U.S. Labor Department found that the University of Connecticut underpaid its female employees and will have to pay around $250,000 to seven women on its coaching staff, ranging from women’s associate head basketball coach to the director of football operations. While the university argued that the pay disparities were due to unique and complex factors unrelated to gender, the Labor Department found the disparities were still significant “even when legitimate factors affecting pay were taken into account.” For comparison, Chris Daily as the associate head coach for the women’s team was paid under $313,000; while the men’s basketball team did not have an associate head coach, their head coach was paid $2.8 million. Shea Ralph and Marisa Moseley as women’s assistant coaches were paid $272,000 and $200,600 respectively, while the men’s basketball assistant coach received over $312,600 in compensation. The school has agreed to investigate its total employment process and revise pay practices to reduce gender discrimination in salary.
According to a study from the National Association for Law Placement, Black law graduates landed 17% fewer jobs that require bar passage than white graduates. Even as Class of 2019 graduates reached a high employment rate of 90.3%, Black and Native American lawyers obtained the lowest share of jobs according to the survey. The survey dates from March 15, 2020, which means that the employment figures will likely have been affected since then pandemic and consequent economic crisis. James Leipold, NALP’s executive director hopes that the findings “serve as a wake-up call to everyone involved in legal education and the legal profession.” The survey also found, amongst other things, that there is still a gender pay gap and that non-binary graduates reported overall lower salaries and were nearly four times as likely to have a public interest job.
A new report from the Little Hoover Commission has found that over 3,000 California survivors of labor trafficking sought help from a state-funded program between 2016 and 2019, yet California has no centralized tool to help those individuals and has convicted on average less than 30 people annually for labor trafficking crimes. The state policies’ flaws are rooted in poor communication and coordination combined with lack of resources. In the report, the commission recommends that CA Governor Gavin Newsom create an Anti-Human Trafficking Council and allow the Department of Industrial Relations to take the lead on investigating crimes related to labor trafficking.