Supreme Court Overturns 1977 Union Dues Ruling

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in a case that many municipal employers and labor unions have been anxiously awaiting because it may change the power of organized labor in this country.  The ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, (AFSCME), overturned a 1977 decision that required governmental employees who chose not to join the union to pay union dues.  The plaintiff in this case was a teacher who argued that the union takes political positions and contributes to political causes that are often contrary to his own personal beliefs and that requiring he financially support those causes violates his right to free speech under the Constitution.  The union argued that it is unfair for non-union employees benefit from the collective bargaining effort of dues paying union members and that this ruling will give those employees a “free ride”.  In the opinion, drafted by Justice Alito, said that the majority “conclude that this arrangement violates the free speech rights of nonmembers by compelling them to subsidize private speech on matters of substantial public concern.”  This decision will likely impact the level of union membership in this country, which is currently at about...

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Can Public Sector Employees Be Forced to Pay Union Dues?

The United State Supreme Court heard oral arguments on February 26, 2018 in a case that could dramatically change the face of unions and public employment in this country.  Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 (AFSCME) puts at issue whether public sector employees can be forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment.  Proponents of mandatory union dues payments state that this prevents some employees from reaping the benefits of collective bargaining and union representation without paying their fair share.  Opponents feel that it is inherently unfair to require an employee to pay union dues if they do not agree with union representation or what the union stands for.  An article published today, Justices Appear Slit on Mandatory Union Fees, by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) does a nice job covering the recent case law regarding mandatory union dues and an analysis of how the U.S. Supreme Court might rule on this case.  For those AAA members who are governmental entities, the outcome of this case could have a substantial impact on your agency and its people, employees and management.  We will continue to monitor the developments in this case...

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EMS Employer Year-End Wrap-Up and Preview

2017 was a bit of a wild ride in the employment realm.  The Trump Administration worked to change the trajectory set during the eight years of the Obama Administration.  This past year, we saw the undoing or attempts to undo many of the Obama Administration initiatives, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) updates, changes to the Persuader Rule, interpretations of Title VII as it relates to transgender protections.  Not to mention the repeated attempts to chip away at the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In addition, there were several new requirements for employers that went into effect in 2017 and a few upcoming in 2018.  Here is a quick review to ensure that your service is up-to-date and compliant. The Fair Labor Standards Act Changes These changes, which would have more than doubled the minimum salary levels for those “White Collar” exemptions, were set to go into effect back in 2016.  A Federal Court in Texas enjoined and put on hold these changes until the question of whether the Department of Labor (DOL) had the authority to unilaterally change the Regulations.  In July, 2016, the DOL published an Request For Information (RFI) with responses due in late September, requesting input...

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Overtime for PTO Bill Passes the House

Yesterday a bill that would possible amend the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act passed the House. H.R. 1180, titled the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 was introduced by Alabama Representative Martha Roby this past February. The proposed change would permit private employers who currently pay employees overtime for hours worked over 40 during a given week to substitute that overtime pay for compensatory paid time off in the amount of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked. In order to do so, the employee would have to agree in writing with the substitution of PTO for overtime pay prior to working the overtime hours. The agreement must provide that the employee knowingly and voluntarily agrees to the substitution of PTO for overtime pay. In the case of unionized companies, the substitution can only be made if provided under the collective bargaining agreement. To be eligible to substitute PTO for overtime pay, the employee must have worked for the employer for at least 1000 hours during the preceding uninterrupted 12 month period before the agreement is made or the receipt of the compensatory PTO. The Bill provides for limitations to the number of hours that can...

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The Art of Persuasion

The United State Department of Labor (USDOL) Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) has released its revised interpretation of the rule that seeks to level the playing field between unions and employers. The new interpretation of the rule, which will take effect on April 25, 2016, will require that employers who hire consultants or labor attorneys to counsel them during union organizing campaigns report if they will undertake “persuader” activities and the cost of those services. These “persuader” activities are defined as “actions, conduct, or communications that are undertaken with an object, explicitly or implicitly, directly or indirectly, to affect an employee’s decisions regarding his or her representation or collective bargaining rights.” The intent is to make sure that employees can know the source of some of the information provided directly or indirectly to them during the organizing campaign. Read a summary of the impact of this rule.

Spotlight: Jerry Glass, Labor Relations Expert

Jerry Glass President F&H Solutions Group Download Jerry’s vcard Follow Jerry @JerryGlass Connect with Jerry on LinkedIn Tell us a little about yourself. I was born and raised in New York City. I went to college at Boston University and then moved to Washington, D.C., to attend George Washington University, where I received my master’s degree. It is also where I met my wife, Karen. We have been married for 36 years, but with all the travel I do, I tell people we have only been together for about 15 years! We have two adult children and one son-in-law. My number one passion is basketball. I live and breathe the sport. I have been playing in a basketball league and enjoying pickup games with a group of guys for more than 30 years. And if you invite me to see a high school, college, or professional basketball game, count me in. Karen and I also love cycling and spinning. We take a cycling trip each summer and have seen some great sites on our bikes. How did you get into labor relations? Can you give us some background on your professional life? When I graduated from GWU, my first job was (more…)