Sunday, June 28, 2009

NYS Labor Law Payment of Wages

Schools In................

Frequency of payments.

1. Every employer shall pay wages in accordance with the following provisions:

a. Manual worker.--- (i) A manual worker shall be paid weekly and not later than seven calendar days after the end of the week in which the
wages are earned; provided however that a manual worker employed by an
employer authorized by the commissioner pursuant to subparagraph (ii) of
this paragraph or by a non-profitmaking organization shall be paid in
accordance with the agreed terms of employment, but not less frequently
than semi-monthly.
(ii) The commissioner may authorize an employer which has in the three
years preceding the application employed an average of one thousand or
more persons in this state or has for one year preceding the application
employed an average of one thousand or more persons in this state and
has for three years preceding the application employed an average of
three thousand or more persons outside the state to pay less frequently
than weekly but not less frequently than semi-monthly if the employer
furnishes satisfactory proof to the commissioner of its continuing
ability to meet its payroll responsibilities. In making this
determination the commissioner shall consider the following: (A) the
employer's history meeting its payroll responsibilities in New York
state or if no such history in New York state is available, other
financial information, as requested by the commissioner, which will
assist the commissioner in determining the likelihood of the employer's
continuing ability to meet payroll responsibilities; (B) proof of the
employer's coverage for workers' compensation and disability; (C) proof
that there are no outstanding warrants of the department of taxation and
finance or the department of labor against the employer for failure to
remit state personal income tax withholdings or unemployment insurance
contributions; and (D) proof that the employer has a computerized record
keeping system for payroll which, at a minimum, specifies hours worked,
rate of pay, gross wages, deductions and date of pay for each employee.
If the employers' manual workers are represented by a labor
organization, the commissioner shall not grant an employer's application
for authorization under this subparagraph unless that labor organization
consents thereto.
Upon notice to the employer and an opportunity to be heard, the
commissioner may rescind such authorization whenever the commissioner
has determined, based upon the factors enumerated above, that the
employer is no longer able to meet its payroll responsibilities as
previously authorized.
b. Railroad worker.--- A railroad worker shall be paid on or before Thursday of each week the wages earned during the seven-day period
ending on Tuesday of the preceding week; and provided further that at
the written request and notification of address by any employee, every
railroad corporation, with the exception of those commuter railroads
under the jurisdiction of the metropolitan transportation authority,
shall mail every check for wages of such employee via the United States
postal service, first class mail.
c. Commission salespersons.--A commission salesperson shall be paid the wages, salary, drawing account, commissions and all other monies
earned or payable in accordance with the agreed terms of employment, but
not less frequently than once in each month and not later than the last
day of the month following the month in which they are earned; provided,
however, that if monthly or more frequent payment of wages, salary,
drawing accounts or commissions are substantial, then additional
compensation earned, including but not limited to extra or incentive
earnings, bonuses and special payments, may be paid less frequently than
once in each month, but in no event later than the time provided in the
employment agreement or compensation plan. The employer shall furnish a
commission salesperson, upon written request, a statement of earnings
paid or due and unpaid. The agreed terms of employment shall be reduced
to writing, signed by both the employer and the commission salesperson,
kept on file by the employer for a period not less than three years and
made available to the commissioner upon request. Such writing shall
include a description of how wages, salary, drawing account, commissions
and all other monies earned and payable shall be calculated. Where the
writing provides for a recoverable draw, the frequency of reconciliation
shall be included. Such writing shall also provide details pertinent to
payment of wages, salary, drawing account, commissions and all other
monies earned and payable in the case of termination of employment by
either party. The failure of an employer to produce such written terms
of employment, upon request of the commissioner, shall give rise to a
presumption that the terms of employment that the commissioned
salesperson has presented are the agreed terms of employment.
d. Clerical and other worker.--- A clerical and other worker shall be paid the wages earned in accordance with the agreed terms of employment,
but not less frequently than semi-monthly, on regular pay days
designated in advance by the employer.
2. No employee shall be required as a condition of employment to
accept wages at periods other than as provided in this section.

3. If employment is terminated, the employer shall pay the wages not later than the regular pay day for the pay period during which the
termination occurred, as established in accordance with the provisions
of this section. If requested by the employee, such wages shall be paid
by mail.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Project Labor Agreements Explained

Almost every organization has a written business plan to make sure goals are achieved in a timely manner.

Project labor agreements (PLAs) are much like business plans for construction projects. A PLA is a contract between the project manager, the various craft unions, and the contractors on the project. They have proven to be an effective way to manage and maintain time schedules and budgets by standardizing and stabilizing wages and benefits, starting times, overtime rules, holidays, and other related matters.

PLAs differ from standard collective bargaining agreements in that they include all the parties working on a specific project, not just a single union and contractor. A PLA takes precedence over all pre-existing collective bargaining agreements between contractors and unions. The PLA binds the involved parties only to the terms of a specific project.

They insure that all the workers on the job work under the same work rules, including the same dispute procedure, with the exception of wages and fringes. Thus, the owner and/or project manager is only dealing with a single set of rules for every worker, there are no work stoppages (even if a given trade is on strike against their own management group!), and if there is a dispute everybody knows exactly how it will be handled.

Since the 1930s, public and private entities have successfully employed PLAs to increase harmony and productivity on jobsites. Widely recognized projects that utilized PLAs include: Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam, Shasta Dam, St. Lawrence Seaway, Disney World, Cape Canaveral, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, and the
Seattle Seahawks Stadium. Major businesses such as General Motors, Ford Motor Company, British Petroleum, Toyota, Humana, and United Parcel Service, have utilized PLAs for vital projects.

PLAs are used on both public and private construction. PLAs can provide a project with the stability and increased value needed to attract funding. Lenders look favorably on projects utilizing such agreements, since they greatly increase the likelihood that the project will be completed on-time and on-budget.

Efforts to outlaw the public use of PLAs only undermine a federal agency’s ability to exercise administrative discretion in choosing the best contracting methods and performance requirements for individual construction projects. Non-union workers are not excluded from work on public PLAs and in fact, such discrimination would be illegal. Non-union workers may register with the union hall for a PLA project, and are referred for work through the union.

They are not required to join the union to be referred for work, and do not need to pay union dues that fund collective bargaining representation. PLAs encourage fair competition among contractors by standardizing labor conditions. PLAs can streamline negotiations for complex projects, reducing costs along the way. Long-term, complex projects often involve several local collective bargaining agreements.

A consultant hired by the New York Thruway Authority determined the four-year refurbishment of the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York would require 19 separate agreements among the trades and their workforce and have cost more than $6 million extra if the project had been negotiated without a PLA.

Also, the local agreements would have required renegotiation throughout the life of the project, allowing opportunities for potential future dispute. Because of the convenience of one long-term agreement through a PLA, it is a time- and money-saver for the owner or construction manager.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Schools in - Age Discrimination In Employment Act Exceptions

Everyone knows that there are laws protecting employees from age discrimination. Employees are protected under the ADEA.

However, there are cases in which the law does not apply. Here are a few of them for your notebooks:

Whe age is a bona fide job qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of a particular business (i.e. modeling clothes for teenagers).

When the differentiation is based on reasonable factors other than age, such as the use of stringent physical requirements necessitated by the nature of the work, ADEA prohibitions do not apply.

When differentiations are based on the terms of a bona fide seniority system or any bona fide employee benefit plan, such as a retirement, pension, or insurance plan, the actions are exempt from the ADEA.

Another exception to the prohibition on mandatory retirement at any age covers state and local governments with mandatory retirement ages for firefighters and law enforcement officers.

When an individual has, for a two-year period prior to retirement, been employed in a bonafide executive or high policy-making position, and is entitled to an immediate, nonforfeitable, annual retirement benefit from a pension, profit-sharing, savings, or deferred compensation plan which equals at least $44,000 then compulsory retirement at 65 is not prohibited.

When there is a bona fide apprenticeship program, which has been traditionally limited to training younger persons for skilled employment, the ADEA prohibitions do not apply.

Pencils down.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ACME Bus of Middletown On The NLRB carpet

The NlRB is asking a Federal Judge to issue a "bargaining order" to bypass the actual election and allow Teamsters Local 445 to bargain with Acme Bus Co. in Middletown on the workers' behalf because it is that likely that Acme Bus engaged in union-busting activities "so serious and substantial" that workers were prevented from holding an election to unionize.

"This charge is so serious that the NLRB is saying there's going to be no election and wants to issue a bargaining order," said Local 445 Officer Adrian Huff. "This is something that happens very rarely. I've never seen one of these in my lifetime, and I don't think I'll ever see another one again."

"We're going to vigorously fight them," Mark Portnoy, Acme's lawyer said.

If the judge agrees with the NLRB and decides to issue the bargaining order, the workers would be unionized. Teamsters local 445 would then begin to negotiate, along with the employees for a written contract.

Local 445 filed a complaint on September 29, 2008 accusing Acme General Manager Charles Mazzei and two men known as "JJ" and "Cowboy" of threatening, interrogating and firing workers who tried to organize.

Additional charges were filed after that date concerning managers videotaping union representatives talking with workers, calling the police on union representatives, and prohibiting employees from discussing the union.

Where is Acme Bus - in Russia some place?

The complaints were backed up by a huge amount of the employees

"I'm all for the union," said one worker. "When Charlie found out I and a couple of others were helping the union out, he slowly got rid of each one of us."
She was fired by Acme in September.

"The union thinks they're going to lose," the lawyer chuckled.

.....He thinks the Labor Board likes wasting a federal judges time too.
65 of Acme's 100 employees signed authorization cards requesting a union election.

If the Employee Free Choice Act was law, those employees who were fired would not have been and the employees would already be bargaining for a written contract.

This type of illegal activity happens all over the country and even in our back yard many times a year.

Why shouldn't employees be able to have their rights and the rules at work in written form?

That is what a contract is. Is that so terrible? How much money does their attorney make? That money could have been available for the employees benefit.

Now the attorney will get rich holding the little people down and denying them their rights.

Pass the EFCA or any improvement to the way it is now. It is an absolute shame what happens in this country to American workers.

"We would have had the election in November," he said, "but terminations, interrogations and surveillance, prevented it. Acme poisoned the well by frightening the workers away from the union. People can't vote in an atmosphere of a police state, in an atmosphere of fear."

"Nonsense," Portnoy said. "These aren't stupid people; these are sophisticated people. If they go into a voting booth, they're going to vote their conscience. They think we're a good employer. We don't believe the union has any strength."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Unions and Workplace Protections

Part III -

An extensive array of labor laws and regulations protects workers in the labor market and the workplace. From the National Labor Relations Act and Social Security Act of 1935 to the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, labor unions have been instrumental in securing labor legislation and standards.

However, beyond their role in initiating and advocating enactment of these laws and regulations, unions have also played an important role in enforcing workplace regulations. Unions have provided labor protections for their members in three important ways: 1) they have been a voice for workers in identifying where laws and regulations are needed, and have been influential in getting these laws enacted; 2) they have provided information to members about workers' rights and available programs; and 3) they have encouraged their members to exercise workplace rights and participate in programs by reducing fear of employer retribution, helping members navigate the necessary procedures, and facilitating the handling of workers' rights disputes

Unions have played a prominent role in the enactment of a broad range of labor laws and regulations covering areas as diverse as overtime pay, minimum wage, the treatment of immigrant workers, health and retirement coverage, civil rights, unemployment insurance and workers' compensation, and leave for care of newborns and sick family members.

Common to all of these rules is a desire to provide protections for workers either by regulating the behavior of employers or by giving workers access to certain benefits in times of need. Over the years, these rules have become mainstays of the American workplace experience, constituting expressions of cherished public values.

Less well recognized perhaps, is the important role that unions play in ensuring that labor protections are not just "paper promises" at the workplace. Government agencies charged with the enforcement of regulations cannot monitor every workplace nor automate the issuance of insurance claims resulting from unemployment or injury.

In practice, the effectiveness of the implementation of labor protections depends on the worker's decision to act.

This is done either by reporting an abuse or filing a claim. Unions have been crucial in this aspect by giving workers the relevant information about their rights and the necessary procedures, but also by facilitating action by limiting employer reprisals, correcting disinformation, aggregating multiple claims, providing resources to make a claim, and negotiating solutions to disputes on behalf of workers.

By organizing into bargaining units, workers are more apt to become educated and stand up for their rights in the workplace.

America needs strong unions.