Preview: Workplace Fairness: today's workplace
Workplace Fairness: today's workplace
Your source for the latest developments in workplace rights and employment law. "Today's Workplace" is the the blog (weblog) written by Paula Brantner, Program Director of Workplace Fairness. In each entry, Paula focuses on legal and political information
The Trump Economy Myth and Job-Killing Policies
Making America Great Again; every time a U.S. company hires a hundred people, or even a dozen, President Trump’s support network blasts out the message that this is what he’s doing. Now they’re crowing that unemployment fell to 4.5 percent in March, even though many say this number underrepresents how many people are actually out of work.
The Plan Behind a Chicago Project to Lift Up Working People
Manufacturing jobs have been on a steady decline for several years because of trade deals, technological advancements and economic recessions. Despite this, manufacturing remains one of the most important sectors of the U.S. economy, employing more than 12 million workers, or about 9% of the total U.S. employment.
Leaked Trump administration plan to close Chicago EPA office puts 1,000 jobs at risk
President Donald Trump’s proposed cutbacks to the Environmental Protection Agency may include the closure of the agency’s regional office in Chicago, a move that could undermine the agency’s ability to monitor pollution in the Great Lakes and curtail its ability to implement enforcement actions against coal-fired power plant owners in the six-state region.
U.S. women reach deal in fair pay fight and will play in hockey championship
The U.S. women’s national hockey team has triumphed before the world championships even begin. The women had said they would not play in those world championships—after winning the event six of the last eight times it was played—unless USA Hockey stepped up its support of women in the sport and moved toward fair pay
Trade Is Trump’s Biggest Broken Promise
If there was a singular issue Trump campaigned on, it was trade. Everywhere he went, Trump swore the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was “the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere” and “a rape of our country” – and whatever else he needed to say to sway working-class voters who felt betrayed by our economy and our trade deals.
Federal appeals court holds workers can’t be fired for being gay
With a lopsided majority joined by a bipartisan coalition of judges, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held on Tuesday that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates federal civil rights law, at least in the context of the workplace.
Still Fighting for Equal Pay
Today is Equal Pay Day. We are 100 days into 2017, and today some women have finally reached the point where their earnings match their male counterparts’ 2016 earnings.
Modern-day Braceros: The United States has 450,000 guestworkers in low-wage jobs and doesn’t need more
On César Chávez Day, lost in all the news about the Trump administration’s criminalization and scapegoating of immigrants and attempts to withhold federal funds from cities with policies that protect immigrants, are the 450,000 low-wage-earning migrant workers employed in the United States through the H-2A, H-2B, and J-1 visa temporary foreign worker programs. Many of the workers in these temporary visa programs are in a precarious situation and vulnerable to abuse and retaliation at the hands of employers and their agents.
Did You Vote For Unfair Pay and Unsafe Workplaces?
Who could be against fair pay and safe workplaces? Give you one guess. President Trump just signed a bill, passed by the Republicans in the House and Senate, that repealed President Obama's Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order.
Trump revokes executive order, weakens protections for LGBT workers
An executive order President Trump signed Monday rescinded an executive order President Obama implemented that would have required companies that contract with the federal government to provide documentation about their compliance with various federal laws. Some have argued that this will make it harder to enforce the LGBT protections President Obama implemented for employees of federal contractors, as well as many other protections those workers enjoyed.
Labor and Community Allies Fight for Jobs and Public Safety in Atlantic City
Atlantic City, New Jersey, may be the gambling capital of the East Coast, but there are certain things that shouldn’t be left up to chance, namely public safety. However, bureaucrats in charge of the state takeover of Atlantic City are now ready to impose drastic budget cuts that will result in 50% fewer firefighters and the smallest police force since 1971.
How States Are Trying to End the Disability Unemployment Crisis
Data in the newly released 2016 Disability Statistics Compendium are highlighting a pernicious, and complex, disparity for the disability community: unemployment. In 2015, less than 35 percent of disabled Americans between 18 and 64 living in the community were employed, in contrast with some 76 percent of their non disabled counterparts.
HELP Committee Should Ask Acosta for Commitments to the DOL Mission
Ahead of Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor, workers and workers’ advocates have been vocal about their concerns with his appointment. Workplace Fairness, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, among others, are seeking assurances from Mr. Acosta about how he intends to protect workers and carry out the mission of the Department of Labor.
We Must Create Good Jobs: Sherrod Brown Shows the Way Forward
February, the first full month of the Trump presidency, witnessed solid jobs growth of 235,000 with the headline unemployment rate little changed, at 4.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Services monthly report. Trump has already tweeted to claim credit for the results, but neither his plan nor his administration were in place.
21 Female Senators to Help Decide Fate of Bill That Would Kill Harassment, Discrimination Suits
Sex-based discriminations sounds like the bad old days but, unfortunately, it isn’t. Just a few years ago, current and former female sales representatives at a medical cosmetics company, Medicis Pharmaceutical (now owned by Valeant Pharmaceuticals), banded together to bring a class action against their employer for regularly doing all of these things, and more, including unequal pay and retaliation for reporting discrimination and harassment.
Still Getting 'It' Wrong
On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the economy gained 235,000 payroll slots in February and upped its estimates for December and January by another 9,000 jobs. Over the three-month period, that means an average job growth of 209,000 jobs a month.
Congress’ Cuts in Health Care Will Hit Women Harder
Republican leaders in Congress are working on plans to cut health benefits for tens of millions of people. The harms from these cuts are likely to have the biggest impact on women, both for their own health benefits and as they try to manage health care for their families.
On International Women’s Day, not all women can go on strike
On International Women’s Day, the organization that spearheaded the Women’s March over Inauguration Weekend is leading “A Day Without a Woman”—a call to action for women around the world to take the day off from paid and unpaid labor, to shop only at women-only or minority-owned businesses, and to wear red in solidarity. But some women—particularly immigrants, low-wage workers, and working mothers—cannot participate in a national strike because they’re worried about losing their jobs or because they rely on their daily income.
THINK YOUR RIGHTS ARE SAFE? THINK AGAIN...
This type of lawsuit—called a class action—has been used by Americans of all stripes for the past 50 years to fight back when an unethical business or unjust government policy is making them sick, cheating them of their money, or otherwise screwing them over. But now, because of corporate special interests and their influence over some members of Congress, class actions are in grave danger of becoming a thing of the past.
Federal Hiring Freeze To Hit Rural and Minority Communities the Hardest
President Donald Trump issued a memorandum last month freezing the hiring of civilian employees throughout the federal government with the exception of military personnel and “to meet national security or public safety responsibilities.” The order specifies that contracting “to circumvent the intent of this memorandum shall not be permitted.” In addition, it directs the Office of Management and Budget to come up with a plan to reduce the size of the federal government through attrition. Under this order, except in “limited circumstances,” any federal agency jobs vacant as of noon on January 22, 2017 cannot be filled.
Interviews for Resistance: The March 8 Strike Is About Building Feminism for the 99%
Since election night 2016, the streets of the United States have rung with resistance. People all over the country have woken up with the conviction that they must do something to fight inequality in all its forms. But many are wondering what it is they can do. In this series, we’ll be talking with experienced organizers, troublemakers and thinkers who have been doing the hard work of fighting for a long time. They’ll be sharing their insights on what works, what doesn’t, what has changed and what is still the same.
Trading Rules for Workers
President Donald Trump met with a bunch of CEOs at the White House last week, prompting the same old, tired and untrue round of assertions that America lost millions of manufacturing jobs because of automation, regulation, illegal immigration and lack of education.
Uber ignored its diversity problem. Now it’s paying for it in spades.
Uber is under fire after a former engineer made headlines for publishing a detailed account of her experiences with sexual harassment—and Uber executives not addressing it. The timing seems particularly awful for Uber, which just lost 200,000 customers for the way it handled President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. But Uber has been one of the few holdouts not tackling the problems of diversity and inclusion that ail much of Silicon Valley. Now, the company has to pay for it.
The People Fired Puzder
Andy Puzder, President Trump’s pick to run the Labor Department, didn’t really bow out. He was fired. But even though Trump made the phrase “you’re fired” his motto, he didn’t force Puzder out. We did. Working people sent him the pink slip.
What’s Happening to Your Health Care: 3 Things to Know Right Now
There is definitely lots of talk about how President Donald Trump and Congress are planning to make major changes to Americans’ health benefits. That’s because Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have said that repealing the Affordable Care Act is one of their top priorities. Although it is not clear when they will act or exactly what they will do, here are three things to know right now.
BREAKING: Iowa Lawmakers Pass Sweeping Anti-Union Bill
Lawmakers in Iowa have voted to dismantle the state’s 40-year-old collective bargaining law, dramatically weakening the power of public sector labor unions and leaving some 185,000 public workers unable to bargain over benefits, healthcare, vacations, retirement, and nearly all workplace issues outside of wages.
Working People and Their Unions Rally to Support Members Affected by Travel Ban
Faculty, staff and students studying and teaching in the United States have been scrambling since Donald Trump barred entry into the country for foreign nationals from seven majority Muslim countries. Although the executive order has been temporarily blocked by court order, the matter remains a moving target as the White House challenges the rulings -- and the legitimacy -- of the courts.
Make American Jobs
President Donald Trump had Harley-Davidson executives and employees over to lunch at the White House last week and reiterated his promise to end wrong-headed trade policies that enable foreign countries to eat American workers’ lunch.
Workplace Fairness Says Goodbye to Former Board Member Penny Nathan Kahan
Workplace Fairness was very saddened to learn of the passing of former board member and early supporter Penny Nathan Kahan on February 1, 2017, after a long and hard-fought battle with ovarian cancer. (Penny Kahan Obituary) Penny’s legacy will be honored at a Celebration of Life on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, at 2:00 PM, at the Chicago Jewish Funerals – Skokie Chapel, 8851 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077.
Americans are now twice as likely to work in solar as in coal
In his first hour as president, Donald Trump promised to resurrect middle-class manufacturing jobs in the United States. It will be all but impossible for him to reverse the tides of globalization and automation, but the future may nonetheless be bright for the American worker, thanks to a trend that predates and will outlast the 45th president.
Five Groups of Americans Who’ll Get Shafted Under Trump’s Hiring Freeze
Donald Trump, in what’s been hyped as an “unprecedented” move, has instituted a freeze on the hiring of federal employees. Hyperbole aside (it’s hardly unprecedented, since Ronald Reagan did the same thing on his first day in office), one thing is already clear: this will hurt a lot of people.
Worker advocates are getting under labor nominee Andy Puzder's thin, thin skin
Donald Trump proposes to put fast food CEO Andy Puzder in charge of the Department of Labor, where he could bring his program of wage theft, automation, and sexism to workers nationwide. Unions and worker advocacy groups are not so enthusiastic about this proposal, and one of the ways they’ve tried to register their concern is by tweeting at Puzder.
How the American Postal Workers Union Scored One of its Biggest Wins Ever
Members of one of the largest labor unions for post office workers are celebrating the success of a three-year campaign to roll back a commercial alliance between the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and office supplies retailer Staples that threatened a major advance in the privatization of the national mail system. Coming just before the accession of Donald Trump to the White House, the victory marks one of the most successful corporate campaigns by any labor union during the Obama era.
This MLK Day, I marched for justice at Newark Airport
In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I participated in an incredibly moving procession of airport workers like myself. We were joined by clergy and elected officials on our march through Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport.
DOJ: To Address “Defective” Accountability System, Chicago Must Renegotiate Police Union Contracts
Now we know what the Department of Justice (DOJ) found in Chicago after a 13-month investigation of the Chicago Police Department: a “defective” police accountability system whose failures are tied to public distrust in police and Chicago’s murder spike. Among the roadblocks to reform noted in the report were police collective bargaining agreements (CBAs), including the three agreements for police supervisors, currently in negotiations, and the contract for rank-and-file cops, which expires on June 30.
Workers Say Trump’s Labor Secretary Nominee Is a Habitual Violator of Labor Law
Andrew Puzder, Donald Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, is uniquely unqualified for that job. As secretary, he’d be charged with enforcing health and safety, overtime and other labor laws. But as CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., he’s made his considerable fortune from violating these very same laws, according to a report by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United released this week.
Postal Service Drops Staples Privatization Effort
The Postal Service’s experimental “pilot program” in privatizing the retail end of the USPS using Staples outlets has failed and ended. The “Grand Alliance to Save Our Postal Service” has forced the USPS to back off from partnering with Staples in their effort to privatize and undermine the wages and jobs of USPS employees.
New House rules allow Congress to slash the pay of individual federal workers
The Holman rule, named after the congressman who first proposed it in 1876, was nixed by Congress in 1983. The rule, now reinstated for 2017, gives any lawmaker the power to offer amendments to appropriations bills that could, legislatively, fire any federal employee or cut their pay down to $1 dollar, if the lawmaker so chooses.
More U.S. Workers Have Highly Volatile, Unstable Incomes
Contributing to this inequality is the fact that while more Americans are working than at any time since August 2007, more people are working part time, erratic and unpredictable schedules—without full-time, steady employment. Since 2007, the number of Americans involuntarily working part time has increased by nearly 45 percent.
Trump Nominates Non-Free-Trader Robert Lighthizer to Trade Office
President-“elect” Donald Trump today announced his nomination of Robert Lighthizer for the cabinet-level office of US Trade Representative (USTR). Lighthizer, who served as deputy USTR under President Ronald Reagan, is known for criticizing Republican “free trade” ideology. Before serving in the Reagan administration he was chief of staff for the Senate Finance Committee.
6 Ways We Could Improve NAFTA for Working People
Today we released a blueprint for how to rewrite NAFTA to benefit working families. This past election there was much-needed discussion on the impact of corporate trade deals on our manufacturing sector and on working-class communities. The outline below puts forward real solutions that should garner bipartisan support if lawmakers are truly serious about realigning our trade policies to help workers.
Coal Communities Ask Trump To Honor His Promises
Coal miners, their communities and Faith groups are calling on President-presumed-Elect Donald Trump to honor his campaign promise to help coal workers. In an “Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump from coal miners,” hundreds of coal miners from Appalachia to Western coal lands asked for help for coal communities across the country.
If Uber Wants to Take Away Its Customers’ Rights, It Should Tell Them
It’s bad enough that a ton of corporations require their customers and employees to submit all their legal claims to private arbitration, a secretive system that is rigged against the individual. But to compound the unfairness, a growing number of corporations are hiding their forced arbitration clauses to make them more and more obscure.
Donald Trump just attacked a local union leader for telling the truth
Chuck Jones is the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents the workers at the much-discussed Indiana Carrier plant. That put him in the spotlight when he had to be the person to correct not just Donald Trump but much of the media by pointing out that Trump’s deal with Carrier had saved not the thousand-plus jobs claimed but just around 800.
Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary is a big ‘screw you’ to the Fight for $15
In an otherwise grim period for the U.S. labor movement, the fast food industry has been a hot spot for organizing activity. For the past four years, the union-backed Fight for 15 movement and allied groups have staged a series of nationwide, day-long strikes and protests in support of higher wages and unionization for fast food workers.
Enormous, Humongous $42.6 Billion October Trade Deficit Is Unbalanced
The U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday that the October trade deficit rose to $42.6 billion from a enormous and humongous 36.2 billion in September. That’s a 17.8 percent increase. October exports were down $3.4 billion and imports were up $3.0 billion. The goods deficit with China also increased, hitting $28.9 billion in October.
DC Considers Cutting-Edge Paid Family Leave Law
“I sometimes imagine how my life would be different if my mom had the option of paid family leave,” Travis said. The District of Columbia resident was born prematurely. Because his mother could not get the time off from work to make necessary hospital visits to care for her fragile son, “She had to give me up to be raised in Florida by other family members.”
Fight For $15 Fights With Nationwide Strike Today
When do we want a $15 minimum wage? We want it now. 43% of the workforce — 60 million workers — are paid less than $15/hour. People will continue to fight for decent wages, the election of Donald “Wages Are Too High” Trump notwithstanding.
Wage Theft Against Immigrants Threatens All Working People
The United States holds sacrosanct the principle that regardless of who you are, or where you come from, your hard work will be rewarded.
For day laborers in America, at least half of whom report experiencing wage theft, this ideal rings hollow. In a country so expansive and so diverse as America, there must be mechanisms in place to ensure the principle of getting paid for the work you do is a reality for everyone.
Think It’s Tough for Labor Now? Just Wait Until Trump Takes Office in January
In 63 days, organized labor is going to find itself in a new political reality, which it seems totally unprepared for. Donald Trump will be president; the Republicans will control the House and Senate and one of Trump’s first tasks will be to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. Though Trump was tight-lipped about specific policy proposals, his campaign and the current constitution of the Republican party do not bode well for labor.
Employment Lawsuit Earnings - How Are They Split Up in a Divorce?
Divorce. Sadly, it happens every day. Fortunately, there are laws in place to help make things as fair as possible for a couple that is splitting up. That means that even the division of property is governed by laws. But what about lawsuit earnings? In particular, employment lawsuit earnings? How are they treated in a divorce?
Thousands rally for growing movement
Thousands of SEIU janitors are traveling to the City of Brotherly Love today to hold a massive rally in support of nearly 75,000 east coast janitors who are negotiating fair wages and benefits this fall.