Today’s News & Commentary — October 25, 2019
Happy Friday! I’ll start by highlighting two labor and employment writing competitions for law students that are now accepting submissions. First, the Institute for Law and the Workplace at Chicago-Kent College of Law is accepting papers for the annual Louis Jackson Memorial National Student Writing Competition in Employment and Labor Law until January 22, 2020 (rules and details here). In addition, the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers is accepting articles for its competition until June 15, 2020 (rules and details here)
On to the news: The Chicago Teachers Union strike continues with Friday classes canceled throughout the district—The Chicago Tribune reports that the strike has now tied with the last major CTU walkout (in 2012) in duration. For prior OnLabor coverage of the strike, see Annie’s post and Sejal’s post from earlier this week. The New York Times discusses why demands for more counselors, nurses and psychologists are the sticking point in the CTU negotiations, rather than teacher pay. In addition, an article from The Atlantic covers how CPS civics and history teachers explained the strike to their students by adding modern labor history to their lesson plans. One teacher told The Atlantic that even some elementary school teachers were reading aloud children’s books on labor issues to their classes. Other teachers reported that students have joined them on the picket lines.
The Wall Street Journal reports that unionized workers at several General Motors factories have voted to back the tentative agreement struck last week between UAW and GM. The new labor contract would end a six-week nationwide strike and would offer UAW members wage increases, signing bonuses, and no change to their healthcare contributions. However, GM still plans to move forward with closing three U.S. factories. “I just want to go back to work,” Stu Smith, an assembly-line worker in Flint told the WSJ. “You never get everything. I think this deal is good for the times we are in.”
Juliana Feliciano Reyes writes for the Philadelphia Inquirer that nurses in Philadelphia are fighting for successorship clauses in union contracts, which require a new employer to honor an existing contract. Reyes reports that this push comes after nurses at Philadelphia’s St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children celebrated a major victory this year, winning staffing guidelines in a union contract, only to see it immediately jeopardized when St. Cristopher’s was purchased by Tower Health and Drexel University. Without successorship language, a new buyer has no legal obligation to honor an existing contract.
Finally, an article from the New York Times shows how entrepreneurs and advocates are working to help adults on the autism spectrum find employment. The employment rate for individuals on the spectrum is extremely low, even for those who have finished college, and advocates note that it may be due to autistic adults’ challenges with social skills. One of the companies profiled, Daivergent, pairs qualified people on the spectrum with companies looking for candidates who can work in fields like data and artificial intelligence.