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Labor Week: Ruling on ‘Take-Home’ COVID-19 Cases in CA, New Amazon Unionization vote in AL & More

January 14, 2022

CA Appeals Court Ruling Could Spur More ‘Take-Home’ COVID-19 Cases:

On Dec. 21 the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District gave the go-ahead for a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that poor COVID-19 safety protocols at See’s Candies Inc. resulted in the death of an employee’s husband. It was the first ruling by an appeals court allowing such a “take-home” COVID-19 lawsuit.

Across the country, there have been at least 23 such lawsuits, at least six of which have been dismissed and six have resulted in private settlements, according to Stephen Jones, general counsel for Praedicat Inc., which evaluates risks for insurers. But although the ruling in the See’s case is only binding in California, legal experts said it could provide guidance to judges in other states. (INSURANCE JOURNAL)

New Unionization Vote for Amazon Workers in AL:

The National Labor Relations Board has set Feb. 4 for the start of a new unionization vote for the workers at an Amazon warehouse near Birmingham Alabama. The workers at that facility voted against unionizing last spring, but the labor agency threw out those results after concluding the company had interfered with that election. (NEW YORK TIMES)

States Try Different Tactics to Address Worker Shortage:

State lawmakers have been trying various approaches to help alleviate the worker shortages caused by a wave of retirements and work reassessments during the coronavirus pandemic. Last July Delaware became the latest state to enact legislation that will gradually increase its minimum wage, joining the 19 other states that started the year with higher minimum wages. At least 12 states also introduced and New Mexico enacted paid family leave legislation last year. Colorado and New York did likewise in 2020. Additionally, several states, including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii and Maine have allocated federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act for job training and skills improvement. (NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES)

ME Gov Slams Door on Farmworker Unionization:

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) vetoed a bill that would have allowed farmworkers in the state to organize and collectively bargain. The governor said she feared the measure would discourage farm growth. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS)

U.S. Worker Return-to-Office Rate Slowing:

According to the latest government jobs report, about 11.1 percent of U.S. workers telecommuted in December, down just slightly from the 11.3 percent that did so the preceding month. When the Bureau of Labor Statistics first began tracking the telecommuter rate in August 2020, it stood at 24.3 percent. (BUSINESS INSIDER)

New Paid Sick Leave Requirements for All Companies in CO:

With the start of the new year, all Colorado employers are now required to provide paid sick leave to their employees, accrued at the rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked, in accordance with the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act. Last January employers with over 16 workers had to begin providing such leave. (SHRM)

NLRB Judge Orders Google to Turn Over Documentation Related to Company’s Anti-Union Effort:

An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board ordered Google to turn over documents related to its “Project Vivian,” an effort to discourage its employees from unionizing, which was launched after worker activism began intensifying in 2018. The order came in connection with an NLRB case brought by seven current and former Google employees in December 2019. (WIRED)

-- Compiled by KOREY CLARK

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