D.R. Horton, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Board – a case decided this week by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals – puts yet another roadblock in the path of employees who try to come together to enforce their rights. In a 2-1 opinion, the Fifth Circuit upheld a construction company’s policy of requiring its employees to sign an agreement to arbitrate all employment disputes and to forgo any opportunity to pursue their claims through a class action. The court’s ruling overturned a National Labor Relations Board order holding that the employer’s policy was invalid because it violated the right of workers to engage in collective activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
The majority reasoned that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires the enforcement of arbitration agreements, including this one, even though its enforcement meant trampling employees’ ability to come together to challenge the terms and conditions of their employment under the NLRA. The dissent argued forcefully that the FAA does not require litigants to “forgo the substantive rights afforded by a statute.” The dissent further argued that because the FAA permits invalidation of an arbitration agreement for any “grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of a contract,” this arbitration agreement should be invalidated for violating employees’ rights to engage in “concerted activity” under the NLRA. Read more »
When it comes to salary negotiation, managers ought to check their biases at the door, and make decisions about employees based on merit. But a recent article from TODAY Money notes that women who ask for more money are often negatively perceived by their supervisors as being greedy, demanding, or not nice. Research has documented that women pay a social cost for negotiating pay that men do not experience; one study found that when women negotiated they were considered less desirable by hiring decision-makers, and their colleagues had less desire to work with them. Research also shows that women have greater concerns than men about experiencing backlash for negotiating pay, and that these concerns are very much grounded in reality. This backlash, in itself, is a form of workplace discrimination.
For Walmart workers, this year Black Friday starts on Black Thursday, the day also known as Thanksgiving. Being open on Thanksgiving is actually nothing new for Walmart. What is new is that Black Friday sales will start at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving this year, meaning many more workers must work through the holiday.
While Walmart hopes to cash in this Black Friday (and Thursday), its workers simply hope to make enough cash to put food on the Thanksgiving table. OUR Walmart has planned 1500 Black Friday protests at Walmart stores across the country to call attention to this irony, and the very difficult working conditions the group says dog Walmart workers.
Women gained 76,000 jobs in September, which amounts to slightly more than half of the jobs added overall.
The economy added 148,000 jobs in September, which was lower than most economists’ predictions. If job growth continues at the September pace, the Hamilton Project projects that we wouldn’t close the jobs gap for nearly a decade. (They define the “jobs gap” as the number of jobs the U.S. needs to add to return to pre-recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month).
California just enacted the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, joining New York and Hawaii as states that care for those who care for the vulnerable. Domestic workers are an important part of today’s work force. These workers – 95 percent of whom are women – care for the household, the children and grandparents, the sick and people with disabilities. In the words of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, they do “the work that makes all other work possible.” And yet, they are often paid very low wages, and work in difficult conditions.
After 7 years of advocacy and two vetoes, California’s domestic workers will finally receive a very important workplace protection: the right to overtime pay. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can be for workers who spend all day taking care of children, the elderly and the infirm. The bill of rights is estimated to cover 200,000 California housekeepers, child-care providers, and caregivers. Read more »
Imagine that you’re a live-in housekeeper. One day, your employer asks you to sign an arbitration agreement – meaning that should any claims arise against your employer, they will be handled out of court. You sign. Later on, you accept a subpoena on behalf of your boss. He proceeds to beat you up. When you sue him, the court points to the arbitration agreement and tells you the matter must be worked out outside of court. Read more »
In 2012, the poverty rate for women was 14.5 percent, substantially higher than men’s rate of 11 percent. Nearly 17.8 million women lived in poverty last year.
Poverty rates were particularly high for families headed by single mothers – more than four in ten (40.9 percent) were poor. More than half (56.1 percent) of poor children lived in female-headed families in 2012.
The poverty rates for other vulnerable groups of women were also high: black women (25.1 percent), Hispanic women (24.8 percent), and women 65 and older living alone (18.9 percent).
The wage gap figures also paint a bleak picture for many women.
The cold hard facts are that women working full time, year round continue to be paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, and the numbers are far worse for women of color, at 64 cents for black women and 54 cents for Hispanic women.
With women as primary breadwinners in over 40% of families today, women and their families simply cannot afford to make do with less.
77 cents on the dollar – does that have a familiar ring to you? You guessed it—it’s the amount that women working full time, year round typically made for every dollar that men made in 2012. It’s now been more than a decade with no progress on narrowing the wage gap. That means that American women have been working for over a decade without seeing the wage gap diminish. The wage gap typically cost women $11,608 in 2012. Based on the 2012 wage gap, over the course of a 40-year career a woman would lose $464,300.
The wage gap is even worse for women of color:
In 2012, African-American women working full time, year round were typically paid only 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.
Hispanic women working full time, year round were typically paid only 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.