Today’s News & Commentary — September 28, 2015

Published September 28th, 2015 -  - 09.28.159


In July, San Francisco implemented an ordinance aimed at addressing “just-in-time scheduling,” the increasingly common practice of employers calibrating shift scheduling to have labor arrive precisely when it is needed, by calling employees into work on short notice.  Lydia DePillis at the Washington Post reports that, so far, the implementation of San Francisco’s fair-scheduling law, the first of its kind in the nation, has been “a learning process.”  The ordinance requires large retailers to publish schedules at least two weeks in advance, and to compensate employees with “predictability pay” if those schedules change less than a week ahead of time.  Additionally, the ordinance mandates that additional hours be offered to existing employees before making new hires and that part-time workers be paid the same hourly rate as full-time workers.  Those monitoring the implementation of the law have observed that “[t]he two-week notice seemed to be instituted right away,” but that there has been only “spotty compliance” with the rest.

Rhode Island has finished a four-year pension overhaul without raising taxes or issuing risky bonds.  The New York Times describes the history of Governor Gina Raimondo’s initiative, which began while she was state treasurer.  The controversial key to Raimondo’s ability to revamp Rhode Island’s pension system was the fact that, unlike most states, the Rhode Island legislature had never expressly made the state pension system contractual.  While other states are constitutionally barred from imposing pension cuts on their workers, Rhode Island lawmakers claimed the ability to amend state pension law.  Several unions sued the state, and the two sides were ordered into mediation; ultimately, a settlement emerged this year.  The article contrasts Raimondo’s experience in Rhode Island with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempts to control pension costs in Chicago.

An NLRB complaint charges Detroit-based mortgage company Quicken Loans with overly restricting its employees’ free speech, reports the Detroit Free Press.  Trial before an administrative law judge is set to begin in early November.  The Quicken employee rules in questions “caution workers against speaking to the media and restrict any other conduct the company deems damaging to its interests.”   How the complaint is resolved could influence how much control employers may have over what workers say about them on social media.

The New York Times reports on recent layoffs of dozens of reporters at the Daily News, the New York tabloid, in what employees were told was “a total repositioning of the product” toward its online presence.  Once the country’s largest mass-market newspaper, the News now has a daily circulation of approximately 300,000 down from a circulation of 525,000 only five years ago.

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