Labor Law: Not Dead Yet
[modified from a similar, more technical post at Workplace Prof Blog]
“Bring out your dead.” Monty Python’s Holy Grail
Especially in Labor Law, whose irrelevancy and death its opponents have been preaching for years (shoot Solove doesn’t even have a separate post category for Labor Law, had to post this under Employment Law), I’ve always loved when something I’ve recently taught in class dovetails nicely into a current event being discussed in the popular press. Case in point: yesterday in Labor Law class, we discussed the duty to bargain in good faith under Section 8(d) of the NLRA and the per se violation of Section 8(a)(5) that occurs when a company says it has a present inability to pay a union’s bargaining demand and then refuses to substantiate those claims by giving information to the union. Under Truitt and Detroit Edison, such information is due to the union so it can carry out its role as bargaining representative of employees.
So yesterday after class, my trusty research assistant Brent Klein wrote: “the UAW went on strike at American Axle in an attempt to gain access to company financial documents. The union claims these documents are needed to justify the across the board wage and benefit cuts that American Axle is requiring to move labor contract negotiations forward. The fact that distinguishes this situation from that of the Big Three (which recently negotiated their own contracts and accepted similar cuts) is American Axle turned a $37 million profit last year, a far cry from the 38.7 billion loss suffered by General Motors last year.”
Ah, the continuing relevancy of labor law.