- Written by Kevin Cleveland
Employers will need to be even more careful this year than in the past to guarantee compliance with all labor laws as enforcement agencies and plaintiffs’ attorneys are expected to be even more aggressive in filing class actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). A recent report by Syracuse University indicates that following a record setting 2015 for FLSA wage-and-hour lawsuits filed in federal courts with almost 9,000 filings, 2016 is expected to be even worse, becoming the third straight year to see a rise in FLSA lawsuits and continuing the steady upward trend over the last fifteen years. In fact, since 2000, FLSA filings in federal court have increased by over 450%.
It should come as no surprise that FLSA lawsuits are on the rise given minimum-wage increases in many states and municipalities, increasing scrutiny on worker classification, increased scrutiny on wage statements, an increased use of the dual employment doctrine, and a greater emphasis being paid to how and when employees are paid. In California the passage of AB-1513, the raise in the minimum wage that took effect at the beginning of the year, the passage of multiple other employee-friendly regulations and laws in recent months, and the growing involvement of both federal and state agencies in prosecuting cases involving wage and hour violations all but guarantees that there will also be an increase of wage and hour class action and Private Attorney General Act lawsuits in 2016.
Union Civil War – UFW Replaces UFCW In Ventura County – May Have Government Sponsored Health Plan to Thank
- Written by Michael C. Saqui
The United Farm Workers (“UFW”) recently won an election to replace the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (“UFCW”) at a group of growers and nurseries in Oxnard. The UFW beat out the UFCW and “no union” options by a handy 25% margin. Hiji Bros. Inc., Seaview Growers, Inc., and Ventura County Nursery will now have to bargain with the UFW. Some have speculated that recent legislative activity and the UFW’s now taxpayer-subsidized health plan may have played a role in the recent union victory. This is just the first of many battles between these two unions which are expected to continue throughout the summer.
In October of 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 145, which subsidizes the UFW’s Robert F. Kennedy Farm Worker Health Plan to the tune of $3 million per year for California taxpayers. The health plan, a trust created 46 years ago, provides medical coverage for over 13,000 farmworker families every year. Unfortunately for the health plan, the Affordable Care Act required the health plan to provide expanded healthcare coverage, which the UFW could not support without purchasing additional stop-gap insurance for any excessive claims which its cash reserves and member contributions could not cover. The funding secured by the bill allows the UFW to purchase that insurance.