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!
Tag Archive: Center for Labor and Employment Law
The importance of sensitivity to religious observance is a hot topic lately. This article from the Wall Street Journal highlights the importance of sensitivity to religion in the workplace and the rise of religious discrimination claims. Read the article here.
A key point for employers and managers is to remember that if someone does not want to participate in Halloween festivities, do not make them. Here’s a refresher of EEOC guidelines on religious discrimination.
Halloween bonus: A scary story… a messy office could earn you fines from the Department of Labor, just ask Rebecca Minkoff.
On October 25th and 26th, I had the privilege of attending the Peggy Browning Fund’s 15th Annual National Law Students Worker’s Rights Conference in Linthicum Heights, Maryland. The event brought together law students across the country interested in the future of workers’ rights. The conference gave a greater understanding of the issues facing American workers, and was an opportunity to network with fellow students, and top practitioners in the field.
On Friday evening, conference attendees were treated to a showing of Trash Dance. The film explored an artist’s organization of sanitation workers in Austin, Texas for a performance piece. After the film, students offered opinions about the film’s metaphors for worker organization.
On Saturday morning, AFL-CIO General Counsel and former NLRB Member Craig Becker delivered the conference’s keynote address. Mr. Becker reflected on his own experiences when speaking about unions’ future challenges. He also offered insights into labor cases on the Supreme Court’s current docket and organized labor’s reception of the Affordable Care Act.
Students then participated in workshops that covered various salient issues. I attended three different workshops, all led by prominent figures in organized labor. Dennis Walsh, Regional Director of Region 4 of the NLRB, discussed the NLRA’s nuances in “Introduction to Basic Labor Law”. Fred Feinstein, former General Counsel to the NLRB, detailed how anti-union consultants grew from cottage industry to well-oiled machine in “Future of Worker Mobilization”. Baldwin Robertson, partner of Woodley & McGillivary, summarized issues facing state and municipal union members in “Public Sector Labor Law”.
In the plenary session on Saturday afternoon, panelists Leon Dayan, Jessica Robinson, and Peggy Shorey summarized new assaults on collective bargaining rights in the states, including new right-to-work initiatives and movements to end dues check-offs. In closing remarks, Dennis Walsh, Marley Weiss and Joe Lurie thanked all conference organizers for their hard work in putting together the engaging and educational programming. It was my pleasure to represent St. John’s University School of Law at the conference. The Peggy Browning Fund’s programs contribute greatly to the labor law community, and I was fortunate to be a part of this year’s conference.
The brothers lectured on the incredible story of their parents, Motke and Fruma, before, during and after World War II. Motke and Fruma met as members of the “Bielski Brigade” a group of Jewish resistance fighters who saved over 1200 Jews from Nazi concentration camps. The Bielski Brigade was depicted in the movie “Defiance” with Daniel Craig. With Courage We shall Fight is a memoir written in prose and poetry which tells the story of Motke and Fruma and those that they met during their time with the Partisans.
As Ralph Berger said, their parent’s mission was to pass on the story of those who had died during the war, because the only way to remember them would be to share their story with others. The stories told by the brothers left the audience with chills. The title of the book came from a line of Fruma’s poems. Another of Fruma’s poems, “The Little Orphan” was read during the presentation by Josephine McGrath ’15.
Hearing the brothers speak about their parents and their experiences was a powerful history lesson and way to make sure that their bravery will never be forgotten. Ralph Berger recounted the story of a woman who came up to the brothers at a Bar Mitzvah, years after the war in California. She had recognized Murray Berger’s sons and told them that their father had carried her and her son out of ghetto during the war. The impact that the Partisans had would never be forgotten by those they had saved; and the brothers learned part of their father’s history that they had never heard before. Those in attendance were privileged to hear about the Partisans and this important chapter in history.
The book is a primary account of the Holocaust and the Jewish Partisan’s fight for vengeance against the Nazis. Copies of With Courage Shall We Fight are available from the publisher, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and from Amazon.com. All proceeds are donated to support Holocaust education.
Thank you to all who joined us for this great event!
Yesterday, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced the final version of a rule that will expand the coverage provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Under the new rule, home care workers will be protected by the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA. Although home care workers whose primary role is to provide companionship to the patient remain exempt from the provisions, the expansion of coverage is expected to bring approximately 2 million additional workers under the coverage umbrella.
Already, both sides of the issue have expressed opinions on why the expanded coverage either will or will not be a good thing in the long run. Proponents of the new rule have highlighted the fact that a large number of workers who were traditionally underpaid for the services and hours they provided may now have an opportunity to earn a fair salary. Opponents of the new rule warn of “unintended consequences” that will result from requiring the payment of minimum wage and, in particular, overtime. They believe that one potential consequence will be the creation of an underground industry within the home health care industry comprised of workers who do not have proper training.
The new rule takes effect January 1, 2015. Between now and then, the DOL will work with stakeholders in the industry, including the agencies who employ home care workers, home care workers, and patients, on implementation. More information, including fact sheets and details about upcoming webinars, are available at a special DOL website, which can be accessed here.
 United States Department of Labor, Minimum wage, overtime protections extended to direct care workers by US Department of Labor, September 17, 2013, available at http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/whd/WHD20131922.htm.
 Bryce Covert, Why It Matters That Home Care Workers Just Got New Labor Rights, Think Progress, September 17, 2013, available at http://www.thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/09/17/2634411/home-care-workers-rule-change.
 Angela Gonzales, New ruling on home care workers could mean bigger bills for consumers, Phoenix Business Journal, September 17, 2013, available at http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/health-care-daily/2013/09/new-ruling-on-home-care-workers-could.html.
 Department of Labor, supra at note 1.
A distinguished panel of alumni and guests joined the CLEL and the LRELS for a spirited and engaging panel on current issues in management-side employment law. Scholarships winners were announced. Congratulations to May Mansour ’14 and Eugene Ubawike ’15 for taking home the Cesar Chavez Memorial Prize and the Alan C. Becker Memorial Prize from Jackson Lewis LLP. The panelists included: Daniel Costello ’99, Vanessa Delaney ’12, Christopher Kurtz ’03, Craig Roberts ’97, Ana Shields ’03, Richard Zuckerman, Natalia Torres, Robert Lafferty, and David Marshall.
The panel discussion ranged from career advice to privacy rights and the implications of the Affordable Care Act.
The panelists spoke about their career paths and what has made them successful in the field. The panelists viewed integrity as a key attribute in building trust and effective relationships; and creating this relationship with clients is a major part of the job.
On the issue of privacy, Richard Zuckerman discussed how employers must balance the need to keep track of employees while making sure not to violate any constitutional protections, such as against unreasonable searches and seizures. Other panelists discussed the right to monitor employee phone calls, GPS tracking, bag searches, and taping phone calls without the person’s consent.
The topic of social media and technology was explored. Several panelists shared their views on how Facebook and other social networking websites have opened up new possibilities as well as problems with privacy.
Overall, the event was extremely informative and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society would like to thank the panelists, all who were able to attend and congratulate May and Eugene on their accomplishments!
Please join the Center for Labor and Employment Law and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society on Monday, September 16, 2013 for our Annual Management Lawyers’ Colloquium. Our Distinguished Speaker Series welcomes leaders in the field to the Law School to discuss timely issues and trends in labor and employment law. We are excited to welcome practitioners from a variety of firms and companies including: Bond, Schoeneck & King; Jackson Lewis LLP; Highgate Hotels; Lamb & Barnosky LLP; Coca-Cola Refreshments; Employment Practices Advisors, Inc.; Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP; Hilton Hotels and others.
The 17th annual colloquium will feature a discussion of cutting-edge labor and employment law issues by a distinguished panel of management side labor and employment law attorneys. The event will close with an announcement of the student recipients of the annual Jackson Lewis Scholarship for Excellence in Labor and Employment Law in Memory of Allan C. Becker.
Please join us in the Mattone Family Atrium for networking, and an engaging panel discussion.
Please RSVP to email@example.com
We hope to see you there!
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.
Watch our blog’s founder and recent graduate, Alyssa Zuckerman, speaking about her experiences with this blog, St. John’s Center for Labor and Employment Law, and the Labor and Employment programs at St. John’s University School of Law. Watch the video to hear more about the opportunities available at St. John’s and learn how the STJCLEL helps students gain a broad perspective and assist in defining and advancing a chosen career path.
You can explore the rest of the viewbook here.
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.