New York Labor Law Blog

Flight attendants for growing airline seek to join labor union

For some employees in New York and across the nation, the idea of unionizing is foreign to them. There could be a variety of reasons for this from management discouraging it to unfounded fear that seeking to join a labor union could be detrimental to their employment. The truth is that workers who believe their interests would be better-served were they to come together as a union should explore the possibility. When doing this, it is imperative to have a law firm that is experienced in union representation to provide legal guidance and advice.

Steps to unionize were taken by the flight attendants for JetBlue Airways. This information comes from the Transport Workers Union (TWU). JetBlue, based in New York, is a growing company. Many of the flight attendants are based in New York. An election is set to be held to provide union representation to close to 5,000 workers. The workers are planning a vote at the start of the new year.

What do fiduciary responsibilities mean with ERISA?

For New York residents who are taking part in the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), it is not only important to understand the basics of the pension plan, but there are other aspects that must be accounted for to make certain that the plan is protected. It is vital to understand the fiduciary responsibilities of ERISA.

Under ERISA, the assets in the plan belonging to the participant will be protected by making sure that the individuals or entities with authority or discretionary control over the management or the assets, anyone who has authority of administration of the plan, or anyone who is giving investment advice and is compensated for it adheres to fiduciary responsibilities. This can include a trustee of the plan, an administrator of the plan, and those who are on the plan's investment committee.

Legal assistance with government notices for ERISA

New York City workers should know that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) has certain rules that require those taking part of amendments to the program. With ERISA, workers have a pension and health plan that protects them. A major part of it, however, is that they are supposed to be given information about it, its funding and other issues.

Those who do not know this or are not provided with the information as requested are being subjected to a legal violation that could warrant employment litigation. It is with matters such as this that it is essential to have the protection of a labor union and a legal firm that is experienced with labor relations. There are numerous examples of when an amendment to ERISA could have an impact on people who are taking part in it. If, for example, there is a change that will lower the rate of accruing future benefits or if there are retirement benefits eliminated, the participants should be informed by the administrator of the plan, organizations, employers who contribute to a multi-employer plan, and qualifying alternate payees.

Unions concerned as Janus case goes before the U.S. Supreme Court

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year, unions were spared from harmful rulings as justices split 4-4 on cases affecting them.

In the months since, conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch has taken his seat on the Court. His presence is almost certain to break the deadlock in a way unions will find hard to accept.

Contractor faces judgment in dispute with labor union

New York City is a hotbed for the construction of glossy, expensive construction projects and landmark buildings. These building will often house notable companies and entities. One sticking point that is often a problem for the owners of these valuable pieces of land is dealing with the potential allegations of labor law violations and other issues with union members. For the union members, it is essential to have a competent union representation for their labor union. Without it, there is a major chance for various abuses to be done. It also provides protection for wages and benefits.

Two ongoing construction projects in New York have run into problems because of a labor dispute. The projects are said to have many issues with the union. One of the contractors was forced into bankruptcy because of a previous judgment that it make contributions of $76 million to union funds. The contractor works with masonry and concrete. The manager of the project ended the contractor's contract on the buildings because it had become insolvent, but told it to keep working with support from an insurance company. Financing from the contractor and the insurer would have let it keep working.

Lawsuit filed by New York EMS for disparity in employee benefits

In New York City, the emergency responders are a crucial part of the city's landscape. This includes the fire department, law enforcement and emergency medical service. While each of their entities has a labor union to protect them, there is a perceived disparity in how they are protected with employee benefits as well as other issues. If there is a belief that other departments are receiving better employee benefits, there is the right to seek information regarding that and to request that the same benefits be accorded to all departments.

A lawsuit was filed to receive documents for EMS workers to have improved pay. Two locals have filed the case against the city and the department to get information as to how various agencies are paid so there can be a gauge on the income and benefits of its own members. In the filing, they want to know about wages, rank, gender, race and disciplinary history.

FMLA and the number of employees and distance rules

New York workers who meet the criteria for the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) have the right to take time off for a variety of reasons. However, there are times that the criteria itself can be confusing and workers might not know exactly what they mean. There are numerous foundational requirements to be able to use FMLA. One is the number of employees and distance from the employee's worksite at which the counted workers will be located. If there are violations made by the employer, the worker will have the right to have the union seek to get them what they are entitled to with help from a law firm experienced in representing unions in employment law.

The specific rule says there must be 50 employees within 75 miles of the worksite of the employee who is seeking FMLA. The 50 or more employees will be counted based on the employees who are on the payroll no matter their work status. For example, if they are part-time workers, temporary workers or seasonal workers, they will still be counted. For the 75 miles, this will be measured based on surface miles over highways, roads, public streets and waterways on the shortest possible route. The work location must be the site where the employee will regularly report or where the work is assigned. It can be an individual location, a campus, a group of buildings, or a facility where they are in geographic proximity.

Two New York news sites join labor union

Some New York employees who seek to join a union meet resistance from the employer. This does not automatically mean that they will not be able to join. To have union representation when there is a disagreement whether the employer will allow it, it is sometimes necessary to take other steps. The benefits to labor relations for union members are many, so it is beneficial to move forward with the process. If there is a problem with the formation of a union or the joining of an established union, having experienced help from a labor attorney is vital.

Workers at the New York news websites, Gothamist and DNAinfo, are now allowed to join a labor union. In April, after Gothamist was purchased by the owner of DNAinfo, an agreement was made by those who report and edit for the sites to join the Writers Guild of America East. However, the union was not recognized by the owner. This made it necessary for there to be a formal vote by the National Labor Relations Board. Of the 27 workers, 25 voted to join. The union must now be recognized.

Union members protest charter school changes to teaching rules

Unions are in place to protect workers and help them be compensated fairly and receive all the benefits they are supposed to. New Yorkers who are in a labor union should be aware of all that the union does for them in ensuring that employers adhere to labor law. One aspect that a labor union must remember is maintaining certain criteria for people to be employed in their industry. When changes are made as to the work credentials, the union can file a lawsuit to protest this.

The United Federation of Teachers and the New York State United Teachers have filed a lawsuit protesting new regulations approved by the State University of New York easing the path for charter schools to hire teachers who do not have bachelor's or master's degrees. According to the lawsuit, the standards will let charters that have been authorized by SUNY to issue their own certification. The unions state that this will reduce the quality of teachers. Those who support the change point to the lack of teachers and that this would increase their ability to hire. Upper-echelon educators decry this move.

Legal assistance with summary plan descriptions and labor law

Ensuring employee benefits is a substantially important part of what a labor union does. For New Yorkers who have concerns about various factors related to their benefits as an employee, a legal firm that is experienced with issues such as a summary plan description (SPD) and other matters is imperative. SPD has an influence on ERISA, health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, pensions and more. A legal professional is vital to formulate and oversee these plans and the SPD is key toward that end.

SPD is how the plan rights and responsibilities are communicated to its members. With ERISA, there are certain requirements for SPD. With the SPD, there will be a great deal of information for compliance to be assured. It must also be easy to comprehend to those who are participating. It will provide a summary of the provisions within the document. A plan sponsor might alter the provisions. There might be an amendment that alters the information that must be in the SPD. If that is the case, ERISA requires that there be a summary of material modification (SMM) given to participants.

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