The Labor & Employment Blog is a forum for practitioners and Bloomberg BNA editors to share ideas, raise issues, and network with colleagues.
May 16, 2013
by Robert Combs
The gradual, decades-old decline in the ranks of union workers is typically discussed in terms of attrition. But what about the more overt and abrupt act of decertification? How often does a unit of already-unionized workers actually decide to say goodbye to their union—and is it happening more often now than in the past?
May 8, 2013
by Louis C. LaBrecque
Federal employees in many agencies are facing furloughs--or the possibility of furloughs--in fiscal year 2013 due to sequestration. What's ahead in FY 2014?
April 30, 2013
One of the most basic maxims in labor relations is that union members earn more than nonunion members. That was true again in 2012. But within that fact are some interesting exceptions and trends that are worth examining more closely.
April 24, 2013
The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board during a joint meeting with its Employee Thrift Advisory Council, which represents federal employee unions and managers' groups, explored the idea of changing to a new default fund in the Thrift Savings Plan.
April 16, 2013
President Obama in his fiscal year 2014 budget request proposed a 1 percent pay increase for federal employees, but also called on federal workers hired prior to Jan. 1, 2013, to contribute an additional 1.2 percent of their salaries toward their retirements.
April 15, 2013
Bloomberg BNA has polled 110 employers whose contracts are set to expire this year, asking them about their plans and expectations for their upcoming negotiations. Here are some highlights.
April 3, 2013
by Michael Rose
Congress has been away from Washington for the past week and a
half for its annual spring recess coinciding with Easter and
Passover. But despite the legislative slowdown, a major milestone
was reached this week in the ongoing immigration debate: the
AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reached an agreement in
principle on a contentious part of a potential immigration
March 29, 2013
Federal government employees with "seriously delinquent tax debt" could be fired by their agencies and federal job applicants forced to withdraw their applications under legislation (H.R. 249) approved by voice vote March 20 by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
March 15, 2013
Unionized employees at Labor Department agencies have received notices regarding the number of proposed furlough days their agency expects them to take during the remainder of fiscal year 2013, with the number of proposed days varying widely by agency.
March 12, 2013
The AFL-CIO has reported that 25 affiliate unions lost members in 2012, while 16 gained members. Are there any affiliates that have never had so much as a dip in their membership in almost 60 years? Actually, there are three.
March 1, 2013
Arbitration issues have been in the news this week, so let's answer the question of how long a labor arbitration typically takes, from grievance to arbitration award.
February 27, 2013
The National Treasury Employees Union is expecting federal agencies to bargain over the impact and implementation of sequestration if the across-the-board federal spending cuts begin as expected March 1, NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said Feb. 26 during the union's annual legislative conference.
February 18, 2013
by Amber McKinney
Let's take a look at this year's five hottest labor and employment law issues.
February 15, 2013
What are the top ten issues labor and employment practitioners should watch for in 2013? Let's take a look at the first five.
February 14, 2013
The House is preparing to vote as early as Feb. 15 on legislation (H.R. 273) that would freeze federal pay for the remainder of calendar year 2013.
February 8, 2013
It's not every day that Congress marks the anniversary of a
20-year-old law. And it's even less frequent that the same
anniversary is celebrated by the administration and public policy
advocates, too. But this week was an exception. Twenty years ago this week, on February 5, 1993, President Clinton
signed the Family and Medical Leave Act into law.
February 6, 2013
New data from 2012 contracts suggest that union employers have finally started loosening their purse strings during wage negotiations. What’s more, big bargaining units appear to be on the leading edge of this upward trend.
January 30, 2013
The Federal Labor Relations Authority is currently operating with one member, Ernest DuBester, who is now the authority's chairman, FLRA said in an undated posting on its website, explaining that the authority cannot issue final decisions without a quorum of at least two members.
January 24, 2013
The best way to sum up the latest trends in deferred wage
increases is to quote Yogi Berra: The future ain’t what it used to be.
January 17, 2013
In case federal employees did not have enough to worry about already, a Jan. 14 memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget calls on federal agency heads to prepare for possible budget cuts due to sequestration or the expiration of the six-month continuing resolution currently funding the government by considering hiring freezes, early retirement incentives, and furloughs.
January 10, 2013
Unlike last year, when settlements covering more than 10,000 workers were being negotiated in what seemed like every industry, most of the large contracts expiring in 2013 are confined to three types of workplaces.
January 2, 2013
Federal employees may have expected a number of different outcomes to the year-end drama of the fiscal cliff negotiations, but a mere two-month reprieve from the threat of sequestration--the across-the-board cuts to federal agencies called for by the 2011 Budget Control Act if Congress can’t agree on alternative cuts--probably wasn’t one of them.
December 28, 2012
While Congress is focusing mostly on the so-called fiscal cliff, lawmakers have also recently taken notice of labor issues. House Democrats, for example, sent a letter to Ron Kirk, the U.S. Trade
Representative, about labor conditions in Bangladesh.
December 20, 2012
In the wake of Michigan’s addition to the ranks of right-to-work states, we ask: Can right-to-work’s effect be seen in how much union and nonunion workers earn in a given state?
December 14, 2012
Michigan has become the 24th “right-to-work”
state in the union, making it the most heavily unionized state—by far—to enact
such a law. How does a state’s union situation change after a decade of right-to-work?
December 5, 2012
The Office of Personnel Management is asking federal agencies to specify in written agreements with employees who telework that such employees are required to work during emergencies that cause federal offices to close.
November 28, 2012
In my last post, I identified some unions and employers that have been enjoying a successful year in the organizing arena. But, for every winner, there is a loser. Here is a list of parties that have not fared as well.
November 21, 2012
The political will to make changes to the federal General Schedule pay system may be lacking at a time when the government is facing a difficult budget environment, panelists critical of the GS system agreed during a recent forum on federal pay.
November 19, 2012
Hope you’re not too tired of election talk, because our semiannual report on NLRB election statistics is almost here. And I've noticed that some unions and employers have been enjoying a very good year so far.
November 9, 2012
The big news this week, of course, was the election. And while
attention is now turning to the nation's fiscal situation and the
so-called fiscal cliff that looms if Congress fails to strike a deal averting automatic tax increases and spending cuts, labor unions took some time on
November 7 to talk about their contributions to the election
November 8, 2012
As the lockout rate for 2012 continues to climb, I thought I should expand on two claims that I referred to in my previous post: first, that lockouts tend to affect more workers than strikes; and second, that lockouts tend to be longer than strikes.
November 7, 2012
Now that the 2012 national elections have been resolved, federal lawmakers' attention will shift to dealing with the so-called fiscal cliff. But Jim Nussle, the former Office of Management and Budget director and long-time House member, believes the "lame-duck" Congress that will return to Washington, D.C., will not be in a strong position to resolve the budget issues necessary to avoid sequestration.
October 31, 2012
by Lydell C. Bridgeford
Stewart S. Manela, chair of the
American Bar Association's Section of Labor and Employment Law tells Bloomberg BNA how his team planned the 6th annual membership conference that runs from Oct. 31
to Nov. 3 in Atlanta so that it appeals to
the section's diverse constituency.
October 25, 2012
Here at Daily Labor Report, we cover collective bargaining and
labor-management relations issues in many different industries, including health
care, transportation, and manufacturing. But this week we covered an ongoing bargaining dispute involving
workers whose product is seen by millions, even though most of them
probably don't know about the disagreements. I'm talking about
employees of the New York Times.
October 24, 2012
Legislation to strengthen whistleblower protections for federal employees has been introduced in both the House and Senate numerous times over the past 13 years, only to be left without final action from Congress. It's all the more surprising, then, that the latest version of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 743) likely will be approved by federal lawmakers before the end of the turbulent 112th Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
October 17, 2012
The huge plunge in union membership over the past two decades has meant a huge plunge in union-initiated strikes. Yet it hasn’t meant a huge plunge in employer-initiated lockouts. That’s interesting. Newsworthy, even.
October 12, 2012
Wal-Mart and labor unions have long been at odds. The world's
largest retail chain aggressively seeks to combat union organizing
at its U.S. stores, and has inspired various labor-sponsored campaigns to draw attention to the company's employment, logistics, and sourcing practices. But not until now have workers at Wal-Mart stores actually walked
off the job.
October 10, 2012
President Obama in February called for a 0.5 percent pay increase for federal employees to be effective in January 2013. Congress was expected to either approve or block the raise, which was included in the president's proposed budget for fiscal year 2013. But as of now, federal workers are still wondering whether the two-year pay freeze that began in January 2011 will be extended for another year.
October 4, 2012
Manufacturing-industry unions and employers are negotiating wage increases larger than anything we’ve seen since the recession. Employees covered under these contracts are receiving pay hikes that are double what they were receiving at this time last year.
September 28, 2012
There's an old saying in journalism that three instances of anything make a trend. I remembered this
while combing through recent issues of Daily Labor Report, because in the past week or so there have been at least four
instances of either workers rejecting proposed collective bargaining
agreements or a pact that the union urged members to
September 27, 2012
Work stoppages—as any pro football fan will tell you right now—have a way of dragging on and on. Today, I’ll evaluate 10 major unions based on the length of their work stoppages. Which unions have the most staying power during a labor dispute? Let’s find out.
September 26, 2012
Is it accurate to call it a "lame duck" session of Congress if that's when the work will get done?
September 12, 2012
A new Bloomberg BNA special report, Union Organizing in the Health Care Industry, has just been released. As I was editing the report, I found a lot of interesting facts. Here are some of my favorites.
September 4, 2012
All eyes were on the Republican National Convention in Tampa
last week, as Mitt Romney officially accepted his party's
nomination for president. Going along with the convention, of
course, was the unveiling of the party's 2012 platform, which
contains several labor-related items that haven't gotten much
August 29, 2012
The Republican Party's national platform as approved by convention delegates in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 28 calls for a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce through attrition along with a more performance-oriented federal pay system.
August 22, 2012
With the political convention season upon us, I decided to browse through some of Bloomberg BNA’s reports, databases, and news articles to compare the labor situations in the two host states, Florida and North Carolina.
August 21, 2012
Most people don't think of Texas being very union-friendly--it
is, after all, a right-to-work state where only 6.3 percent of
workers are represented by unions, far below the nationwide union
representation rate of 13 percent. So it's all the more noteworthy
that this past week, commercial office building janitors in
Houston, after staging a month-long strike, ratified a collective bargaining agreement providing for a $1 raise over
August 15, 2012
When President Obama signed the Budget Control Act in August 2011, ending a congressional standoff over increasing the debt limit, the January 2013 deadline for Congress to agree on a way to reduce the federal budget deficit--and thus avoid the across-the-board cuts to federal agencies called for by the BCA's sequestration process--seemed to be comfortably in the future. But as time runs out for Congress to act, could sequestration really happen?
August 8, 2012
In April, I analyzed contracts from the past six years that called for either a net wage decrease or, at the least, no wage increases over term. I found an explosion in the use of these "zero-or-below" contracts since 2008, and wondered whether it represented a long-term trend or just a temporary phenomenon. At a reader's request, I'm checking to see if the figures from 2012, so far, are pointing toward either conclusion.
August 6, 2012
If you've been watching NBC's broadcast of the Olympics over the
past week and a half, you've no doubt seen lots of commercials for
United Airlines, the Chicago-based carrier that in its latest ad
campaign says it's been flying U.S. Olympians around the world for
years. But few people who see those Olympic commercials probably
realize that now, even two years later, United employees still
largely fall into two groups: those who previously worked for
United, and those who worked at Continental Airlines, which merged
with United in 2010.
August 1, 2012
You wouldn't know it by looking at the House's schedule, but the U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to default Aug. 1 (as in today) on a federally required $5.5 billion retiree health prefunding payment.
July 25, 2012
As the scope of Houston’s janitors’ strike extends to other cities nationwide, let’s take a look at how SEIU compares with other major unions when it comes to the number of employees involved per work stoppage.
July 23, 2012
heat of July may not seem like the most appropriate time for a blog post about
flu vaccination, but a recent National Labor Relations Board decision brought
the issue of mandatory vaccinations for health care workers back to the fore of
the labor world. The board recently ruled that a hospital did not violate the law when it
implemented a flu-prevention program without bargaining with the nurses’ union.
July 18, 2012
If you've been wondering exactly how much money the U.S. Postal Service has been losing lately, go to a website established by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the House Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and Federal Services, which has oversight over USPS.
July 11, 2012
Employers aren't the only ones that get hit with unfair labor practice charges. Unions also can be a target. Sometimes, these charges come from the employer. But most ULP charges leveled against unions come from a source that might surprise you: the unions’ own members.
July 6, 2012
The Supreme Court wrapped up its term last week, with the
release of the long-awaited decision on President Obama's health
care overhaul law. But at the state level, the California Supreme
Court this week released a decision that will have ramifications
throughout the nation's most popular state.The issue? Whether cities are obligated to
pay construction workers prevailing wages on municipal
July 2, 2012
by Patrick Dorrian
What is the impact of D.R. Horton, or Dukes and Concepcion? Only time will tell, but the recent developments in the longstanding battle between employee advocates and employers over the fairness of arbitration clauses and class action waivers, which was once thought to have been settled largely in favor of employers, rages on.
June 22, 2012
While the nation eagerly awaits the Supreme Court's decision any
day now determining the fate of President Obama's health care
overhaul law, other decisions are trickling out, including in one
lower-profile case this week that represents a new element of what
Justice Stephen Breyer, in a dissent, called "an ongoing, intense
public debate" about collective bargaining and union membership in
both the public and private sectors.
June 20, 2012
At a recent event held at the Partnership for Public Service's Washington, D.C., headquarters, representatives of the American Enterprise Institute, the Federal Salary Council, and the Congressional Budget Office offered very different views on whether or not federal employees are paid too much.
June 13, 2012
In the six years since breaking away from the AFL-CIO, how has Change to Win stacked up in the race to organize workers? Representation statistics from the National Labor Relations Board tell a rather balanced story.
June 8, 2012
Supporters of organized labor were dealt a major blow this week,
when a largely union-funded effort to unseat Wisconsin's Republican
governor, Scott Walker, failed in a recall election. In a vote widely seen as
a referendum on Walker's anti-union policies, voters kept him in
office by a margin of 7 percentage points over his Democratic
challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
June 7, 2012
In my last post, I analyzed statistics from the 2012 edition of Bloomberg BNA’s Union Membership and Earnings Data Book to find the state with the largest percentage of union members among its population. This time, using the same source, I’m looking for the city that holds the same distinction. Which of the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas has the greatest union density?
June 6, 2012
For an agency with the seemingly humdrum role of helping the federal government with its real estate, space planning, office equipment, and transportation needs, the General Services Administration in recent months seems to be involved in a lot of scandals.
May 17, 2012
The 2012 edition of Bloomberg BNA’s Union Membership and Earnings Data Book has been published, and it has the latest breakdowns of U.S. Census data on union density rates—the percentage of a...
May 14, 2012
National Labor Relations Board Associate General Counsel Anne Purcell issues casehandling instructions for regional office employees handling immigration issues in unfair labor practice compliance proceedings.
May 11, 2012
Companies under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection often find
themselves at odds with unions representing their workers, who want
to make sure employees don't get short shrift as an employer
reorganizes to gain financial solvency. This interplay was recently
on full display at two household-name employers currently in
bankruptcy proceedings--providing a good look at the role unions
can play in the face of an employer's financial
May 3, 2012
Three factors in the collective bargaining atmosphere have created a kind of “perfect storm” that kept wage increases at levels lower than we’ve ever seen in 2011, and perhaps lower than we’ll see again for some time.
April 27, 2012
Congressional wrangling over the
National Labor Relations Board was back in the news this week, as
the Senate voted not to advance debate on a resolution disapproving
of the agency's proposed rule that would speed up the
representation election process, which is scheduled to take effect
April 18, 2012
How drastically did employers put the brakes on first-year wage increases last year? Consider this: Among the nearly 1,000 contracts we added to our database for 2011, 41 percent called for a first-year wage freeze, up from 7 percent just three years earlier.
April 13, 2012
With the announcement this week that Rick Santorum was dropping
out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination, all
eyes are turning to the general election fight between President
Obama and Mitt Romney - and the super PACs that are supporting each
of them. But what may have gone less noticed this week was that the
AFL-CIO officially unveiled a super PAC of its own.
April 11, 2012
In the three years since the 2008 financial collapse, there were 395 contracts calling for wage changes of zero percent or lower. That’s more than 10 times as many contracts as there were in the three years leading up to it.
April 9, 2012
Celia M. Joseph, an attorney in the Philadelphia office of Fisher & Phillips LLP, talks about legal battles that may surface because of proposed reforms to strengthen federal contractors' nondiscrimination and affirmative action obligations for veterans and people with disabilities. She also discusses the legal avenues available for challenging newly minted regulations.
March 30, 2012
There was more partisan wrangling over the National Labor
Relations Board this week, when a report emerged from the agency's
inspector general alleging that Board Member Terence F. Flynn (R),
who was recess appointed by President Obama in January, had
improperly shared internal NLRB information with former board
members now working in private practice.
March 27, 2012
Cara Yates Crotty, a partner at the law firm Constangy Brooks and Smith, LLP., explains why some companies that are awarded federal contractors may fail to realize they have to comply with nondiscrimination and affirmative action regulations enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
March 21, 2012
In an analysis of manufacturing industry contracts over the past decade, I found a decisive trend away from new hire friendly pay practices and toward practices that stagger the compensation structure and limit new employees’ ability to earn as much as their co-workers.
Public Sector Roundup: Will Sequestration Continue Into Fiscal Year 2014?
Q&A: When Does an OFCCP Audit Become Litigation Worthy?
Congressional Roundup: Republican Comp Time Bill Gets a Vote
Labor Stats and Facts: Decertifications Are Down, but Unions Shouldn't Celebrate
EEO Roundup: Valuing Employment Discrimination Claims