In Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association v. Ludwig, No. 05-CH-13796 (Cook Co. Cir. Ct. 2006), Davis, Cowell and Bowe successfully defended the constitutionality of the Room Attendant Amendment to the Illinois One Day Rest in Seven Act. Davis, Cowell & Bowe represented UNITE HERE Local 1, which was allowed to intervene as a defendant in the case. The court rejected claims that the Room Attendant Amendment was unconstitutional and preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.
The Room Attendant Amendment gives some 7,000 hotel room attendants in Cook County the right to two fifteen-minute rest breaks, a half-hour meal period, a room in which to take their breaks, and access to clean drinking water. The law also gives workers the ability to enforce these rights through private actions. UNITE HERE Local 1 lobbied for passage of the law in response to the serious health and safety risks faced by room attendants nationwide, as upgrades in guest room bedding and amenities have led to increased workloads.
DCB is happy to announce that Jacob Frisch is the Washington office’s 2006 summer law clerk. He is currently a 3L at Tulane University Law School where he is a member of the Moot Court Board. His primary areas of interest are labor and employment law.
We are also happy to announce that Anne Shaver is the San Francisco office’s 2006 summer law clerk. In Fall 2006, she will start her third year at Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley). Her primary areas of interest are labor law and immigration/detainment work.
In Sheet Metal Workers Int’l Assn v. Labor Commissioner and Red Rose Roofing v. Labor Commissioner (Case No. 42656, unpub., 3/22/06), the Nevada Supreme Court held that unions which report prevailing wage violations have a right to be heard at the Commissioner’s administrative hearings on employer objections to preliminary findings of violation. The Court also upheld the state statute and regulation imposing penalties for employer failures to provide payroll reports on time (in that case, the penalties for two weeks’ worth of late reports came to $54,000).
Nevada Supreme Court Upholds Rights of State Employees to Additional Pension When Privatized
In a suit assisted by the State of Nevada Employees Association (AFSCME), DCB recently obtained a state supreme court ruling holding that state employees are entitled under state statute to obtain additional pension service credit when their agencies are privatized, even if at the time they are only eligible for early retirement. This ruling will mean that several million dollars are owed by the private company which took over the operation from the state. In Cable v. EICON, 122 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 12 (2/9/06), the Nevada Supreme Court held that these privatized workers were entitled to receive 5 years additional pension service credit under a statute making such a benefit available when a state agency “reduces the number of employees”. The dissenters contended the statute not applicable when the entire agency is privatized. The decision for the 4-3 majority was written by Justice Michael Douglas.
The Nevada Supreme Court ruled in favor of DCB client Southern Nevada Operating Engineers Trust by reversing the Labor Commissioner’s attempt to delete one of the Operating Engineers’ job classes (soils testers) from his list of jobs covered by state prevailing wage law. The Court agreed that the Commissioner was required to proceed by way of formal rulemaking instead of making an ad hoc decision (after an employer violated the previously-published wage order which had expressly included testers as a covered class).
Text of decision here.
On Saturday, June 11, a tentative agreement between UNITE HERE Local 11 and the Los Angeles Hotel Employer’s Council was announced. It covers nearly 3000 workers in the leading Los Angeles tourism and convention hotels, many of them recent immigrants and women. The settlement occurred after 14 months of arduous negotiations and immediately after an unfair labor practice strike began at one hotel and the others were faced with the question whether to lock out. It was mediated by the newly-elected Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa.
The Union achieved its central goal, a 2006 expiration date. Contracts covering hotel workers in other major United States and Canadian cities with substantial density of unionized hotels also expire in 2006. Negotiators also settled unfair labor practice charges that developed during the course of the bargaining.
On June 15, 2005, the members of the bargaining unit ratified the settlement by a 98% vote in favor.
DCB attorneys represented Local 11 in the negotiations and the unfair labor practices cases.