On Tuesday, February 10th, Republican Governor Sam Brownback rescinded a 2007 executive order that prohibited employment discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered in state government jobs. Over 7 years ago, Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, passed the executive order, which required government agencies to have programs that prevents harassment against any member of the LGBT community that is looking to work or who currently works in a government agency. Many groups are condemning this behavior from Governor Brownback including national gay-rights group, Human Rights Campaign, and the state’s leading gay-rights group, Equality Kansas. Check out this article from The New York Times to learn more!
Category Archive: Public Sector
Our own Professor David L. Gregory, executive director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at St. John’s University School of Law, has been quoted several times in the New York Times in the past week. As a preeminent scholar on labor and employment law issues, Professor Gregory was quoted on varied current events, ranging from all municipal unions in New York City to the recent scandal involving workplace misconduct at the Miami Dolphins Franchise. See the links below for the past week’s articles and feel free to submit any that we might have missed in the comments!
In an article titled “Vacancies and Partisan Fighting Put Labor Relations Agency in Legal Limbo” written by Mark Landler and Steven Greenhouse and published in The New York Times on July 15, 2013, Professor Gregory offers context for the situation which has arisen in the National Labor Relations Board.
The NLRB has been functioning without a quorum of members (a full slate is five members) and President Obama’s NLRB recess appointments have been the subject of an acrimonious court battle set to go before the Supreme Court next term.
Experts, like Professor Gregory, say that these issues have cast doubt upon the rulings of the NLRB and without a clear sense of direction in solving labor disputes.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“The situation we’re seeing now is really unprecedented,” said David L. Gregory, a professor of labor law at St. John’s University. “There was a period of chronic vacancies that was as much the fault of the Democrats as the Republicans. But we really haven’t seen a showdown like this in modern history.” The White House reiterated Monday that Republicans were “needlessly and systematically” obstructing the president’s nominees, arguing that he had put forward a full bipartisan set of candidates in April.
St. John’s Center for Labor and Employment proudly co-sponsors NYU’s Annual Conference on Labor and held a kickoff reception the night prior to the conference. The keynote speaker at the reception was Lorelei Salas, Legal Director of Make the Road New York (MRNY).
MRNY is is a not-for-profit, membership-led organization based in Bushwick, Brooklyn; which builds the power of Latino and working class communities to achieve dignity and justice through organizing, policy innovation, transformative education, and survival services. As Legal Director for MRNY, Ms. Salas heads the housing and benefits litigation team, the employment team, the health advocacy team, and the newly formed immigration unit. In that capacity, she directs litigation, supervises the provision of direct legal services, and helps develop policy and campaign work around issues that affect the MRNY community.
Ms. Salas spoke to the group of students, friends of the CLEL and distinguished guests at a reception on June 3, 2013 about the opportunities and transformation that she is a part of for MRNY. She spoke about how her career and life experiences had shaped her passion for worker’s rights and a recent success, the organization of cash wash workers in New York City who have recently signed their first union contract.
The kickoff reception preceded NYU’s 66th Annual Conference on Labor brings together top government officials and leading attorneys in the fields of labor and employment law in a unique and practical two-day program offering practical learning and CLE credit.
This past Wednesday, an overwhelming majority of delegates for the Chicago Teachers Union (“CTU”) voted to end the union’s ten-day strike. The strike was the CTU’s first in over twenty-five years, and many spectators believe it has fundamentally changed the national conversations about education policy and labor alike.
The negotiations that have paved the way for a new contract between the city and the CTU led both parties to make concessions. The teachers did not receive as substantial a raise as they had hoped, but they successfully resisted several significant changes that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sought to impose, including a new teacher evaluation program, and they instituted a new recall policy for top teachers who are laid off as a result of school closings. Mayor Emanuel counted his efforts toward implementing a longer school day among his successes during the negotiations. Although the CTU President, Karen Lewis, has expressed some dissatisfaction with the substance of the new agreement, she regards the strike as successful and anticipates that the delegates will approve it during the coming weeks.
As the Chicago teachers’ strike drew to a close, many questions remained unanswered. Some continued wondering whether the essential questions underlying the dispute, like the propriety of tying teacher evaluations to students’ standardized test scores or the specter of increasing competition from charter schools, were adequately resolved. Because both the city and the union made concessions in the new contract, others queried who “won.” One facet of the strike that especially captured the popular imagination is assessing what impact this strike will have during these crucial weeks leading up to the presidential election, especially in view of President Obama’s conspicuous silence during a dispute that has special salience for the President.
Because the Chicago public school system is the third-largest in the country, onlookers have viewed this strike as something of a referendum on the troubled state of public education and the continuing role of public sector labor unions. In light of the ongoing fight between Wisconsin public employees and Governor Scott Walker, it is perhaps not an exaggeration to say, as Nathan Saunders, president of the Washington Teachers Union did, that the strike in Chicago was an “epic battle.” Labor leaders like Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, have applauded the teachers, emphasizing that they have the right to reframe the conversation about education policy because of their unique perspective on what kinds of change are necessary to improve education. It seems likely that the CTU will galvanize teachers’ unions across the country in speaking out on behalf of their needs and the best interests of students as the debate about education policy grows ever fiercer.
 Monica Davey & Steven Yaccino, Teachers End Chicago Strike on Second Try, N.Y. Times, Sept. 18, 2012, at A1.
 See id.
 Ellen Jean Hirst & Jennifer Delgado, It’s Back to School Again for Chicago Students, Chi. Tribune, Sept. 19, 2012, available at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-19/news/chi-todays-assignment-seal-deal-with-chicago-teachers-20120918_1_chicago-teachers-union-chicago-students-first-day.
 Davey & Yaccino, supra note 1.
 Valerie Strauss, Who Won the Chicago Teachers Strike?, Wash. Post, Sept. 19, 2012, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/who-won-the-chicago-teachers-strike/2012/09/18/974b5efa-020b-11e2-b257-e1c2b3548a4a_blog.html.
 See Lyndsey Layton, Peter Wallsten, & Bill Turque, Chicago Teachers Strike Places Obama at Odds with Key Part of Political Base, Wash. Post, Sept. 11, 2012, available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/chicago-teachers-strike-places-obama-at-odds-with-key-part-of-political-base/2012/09/11/df89a776-fc2a-11e1-b153-218509a954e1_story.html.
 Davey & Yaccino, supra note 1.
 Monica Davey & Steven Greenhouse, School Days Resume in Chicago as the Lessons from a Strike Are Assessed, N.Y. Times, Sept. 19, 2012, at A19.
 Layton, Wallsten & Turque, supra note 7.
 See id.