Advocates for Labor and Progressive Institutions

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American Federation of Musicians Enters Into New Collective Bargaining Agreement With Advertisers

March 2010

In March 2010, Firm lawyers led the negotiations for a new musicians’ collective bargaining agreement with the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations for a new three year collective bargaining agreement covering musicians who record television and radio commercials. The agreement increases musicians wages, pension and health benefit contributions and clarifies how musicians are compensated for commercials made in the first instance for use in new media and for commercials made for traditional media that are later used in new media.

Two RICO Lawsuits Dismissed

March 2009

The firm recently has obtained the dismissal, under FRCP 12(b)(6), of two lawsuits brought by employers under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), alleging that the defendant unions violated RICO by engaging in a “pattern of racketeering activity” the purpose of which was to “extort” an agreement concerning union recognition from the employer. The two lawsuits are: Cintas Corporation, et al. v. UNITE HERE, et al., slip op., 2009 WL 604099 (S.D.N.Y. March 9, 2009); and Wackenhut Corp. v. SEIU, 593 F. Supp. 2d 1289 (S.D. Fla. 2009).

Ninth Circuit Ruling on Public Employee Free Speech Rights

2008

Interpreting a recent Supreme Court decision on the extent to which the First Amendment protects public-employee speech, the Ninth Circuit reinstated the First Amendment retaliation claim of an Idaho school employee who contended that he had lost his job for bringing to the attention of top school administrators his principal’s failure to follow school district policies concerning school safety and security.

Smithfield RICO Litigation Settled on Eve of Trial

October 27, 2008

Scheduled for a six week trial beginning October 27, 2008, Smithfield Foods, Inc. and the UFCW (and other defendants) settled the case on the morning the trial was to begin.

Florida Supreme Court Removes Proposed School Voucher Ballot Initiatives from November Ballot

September 3, 2008

On September 3, 2008, the Florida Supreme Court held in Ford v. Browning that two ballot initiatives which proposed constitutional amendments concerning school vouchers could not lawfully be placed on the November 2008 general election ballot.

Seniority Integration Key to Recent Airline Mergers

April 2008

In April 2008, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines announced a merger that, when consummated, resulted in the world’s largest airline.

Change to Win supports challenge of ordinance restricting employment of undocumented immigrants

April, 2008

The firm filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Change to Win labor federation in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Lozano v. City of Hazleton, arguing that a local ordinance adopted by a Pennsylvania city that imposed restrictions on the employment of unauthorized aliens is preempted by federal law.

Sixth Circuit Rules that States and School Districts Need Not Spend Their Own Funds to Comply with No Child Left Behind

January, 2008

On January 7th, the Sixth Circuit handed down its decision in the long running Pontiac v. Spellings case, in which the firm represents the NEA, nine school districts and several state and local NEA affiliates, who are challenging the position of the U.S. Department of Education that states and school districts must spend their own funds to comply with the NCLB.  In its ruling, the Sixth Circuit agreed with the plaintiffs that the NCLB cannot be construed to require states and school districts to spend their own funds on NCLB compliance and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

Utah Supreme Court Ruling Paves Way for Referendum Overturning Voucher Legislation

November 6, 2007

In a referendum on November 6, 2007, Utah voters decisively rejected a statewide private-school voucher program that the state’s Legislature had enacted by a one-vote margin earlier in the year.