Monday, January 27, 2014


            Union membership held steady in the United States in 2013, but is down by 3.2-million since such membership began to be counted by the federal government 30 years ago.
            According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 the union membership rate -- the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions -- was 11.3 percent, the same as in 2012. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions last year, 14.5 million, was little different from 2012.
            In 1983, the first year for which comparable union membership data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.
            Public-sector workers had a union membership rate (35.3 percent) more than five times higher than that of private-sector workers (6.7 percent). In 2013, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belonged to a union, compared with 7.3 million workers in the private sector
            Among major race and ethnicity groups, African-American workers had a higher union membership rate in 2013 (13.6 percent) than workers who were white (11.0 percent), Asian
(9.4 percent), or Hispanic (9.4 percent).
            Among the states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate
(24.4 percent), followed by Alaska (23.1 percent) and Hawaii (22.1 percent). North Carolina had the lowest rate (3.0 percent), while the union membership rate in Florida was 5.4%. With a total of 7,655,000 persons employed in Florida, 414,000 were union members in 2013. The U.S. average by state was 11.3 percent.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

NLRB abandons rule requiring workplace poster about employee union rights

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has decided to drop its controversial rule requiring private sector employers to post a notice informing employees of their right to join a union.

The Board decided not to seek Supreme Court review by the Jan. 2, 2014, deadline of two U.S. Court of Appeals decisions invalidating its previously announced Notice Posting Rule, which would have required most private sector employers to post a notice of employee rights in the workplace, including the right to join a union. The outlawed rule had the support of the Obama Administration.

The NLRB said it “will continue its national outreach program to educate the American public” about the National Labor Relations Act, including on its own website at nlrb.gov. In addition, the NLRB has created a free NLRB mobile app for iPhone and Android users to provide the public with information about the NLRA.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, most private sector employees have the right to:

·         Organize a union to negotiate with employers concerning wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.

·         Form, join or assist a union.

·         Bargain collectively through representatives of employees’ own choosing for a contract setting wages, benefits, hours, and other working conditions.

·         Discuss terms and conditions of employment or union organizing with co-workers or a union.

·         Engage in protected concerted activities with one or more co-workers to improve wages, benefits and other working conditions.

·         Choose not to do any of these activities, including joining or remaining a member of a union. 


The NLRB has the legal authority to (1) order an employer to rehire a worker fired in violation of the law, and to pay the employee lost wages and benefits; (2) order a union to adhere to its duty of fair representation of its members; and (3) order an employer or union to otherwise cease violating the law.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Florida Rejects Requested 1% Hike In Workers’ Compensation Rates

             Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has rejected an insurance industry request for an increase in Florida employers’ Workers’ Compensation rates.
            McCarty issued an order on October 23 notifying the National Council on Compensation Insurance NCCI) that its 1% proposed annual rate filing increase in Florida’s workers’ compensation insurance rates was disapproved.  
            According to McCarty, after a careful review and analysis by the Office of Insurance Regulation, the filing asserted an increase in production expenses that were not supported by the information submitted by NCCI. 
            NCCI, nonetheless, can re-submit the rate filing and if it does so a 0.7% increase would be approved to become effective on January 1, 2014, for new and renewal business.  
            This potential approval would represent a 56.0% cumulative reduction in Florida Workers’ Compensation rates as a result of legislative reforms introduced in 2003, and keep Florida rates comparable to other states, according to McCarty. 
            “Although a marginal rate increase is necessary for worker’s compensation insurance in Florida, the underlying factors causing the spike in rate increases over the last four years still merit legislative attention,” stated McCarty. “Evidence from the hearing demonstrated that rates could be reduced by as much as 8.3% if the reimbursement for hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical centers were statutorily limited to 120% of Medicare reimbursement.”
                --- Originally posted October 25, 2013