ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

December 24, 2007

2007.12.24: Labor Board Restricts Union Use of E-Mail

Filed under: ALAA History,Collective Bargaining,Free Speech,Key Documents — nyclaw01 @ 11:05 am
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Monday, December 24, 2007 10:01 AM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject: RE: Labor Board Restricts Union Use of E-Mail

Fortunately, our right to use e-mail for union purposes remains protected by ALAA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement §§ 3.5 (“The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed and will never constitute grounds for discharge or relief from an individual assignment unless, in either instance, it can be demonstrated that such expression has, or will, directly interfere(d) with, and detract from, representation of a Society client so as to render said representation less than at the highest level of competence and effectiveness.”) and 1.5 (“The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.”).

_____________________________________________
From:     [A]
Sent:    Sunday, December 23, 2007 7:53 PM
To:    ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject:    Labor Board Restricts Union Use of E-Mail

This isn’t good.

December 23, 2007
Labor Board Restricts Union Use of E-Mail By STEVEN GREENHOUSE <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/steven_greenhouse/index.html?inline=nyt-per&gt;
The National Labor Relations Board <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_labor_relations_board/index.html?inline=nyt-org>  has ruled that employers have the right to prohibit workers from using the company’s e-mail system to send out union-related messages, a decision that could hamper communications between labor unions and their membership.
In a 3-to-2 ruling released on Friday, the board held that it was legal for employers to prohibit union-related e-mail so long as employers had a policy barring employees from sending e-mail for “non-job-related solicitations” for outside organizations.
The ruling is a significant setback to the nation’s labor unions, which argued that e-mail systems have become a modern-day gathering place where employees should be able to communicate freely with co-workers to discuss work-related matters of mutual concern.
The ruling involved The Register-Guard, a newspaper in Eugene, Ore., and e-mail messages sent in 2000 by Suzi Prozanski, a newspaper employee who was president of the Newspaper Guild’s unit there. She sent three e-mail messages about marching in a town parade and urging employees to wear green to show support for the union in contract negotiations.
During the years that this case was pending, many companies were uncertain whether they could bar union-related e-mail. But the labor board’s decision gives companies nationwide the green light to prohibit union-related e-mail as part of an overall nonsolicitation policy.
“An employer has a ‘basic property right’ to regulate and restrict employee use of company property,” the board’s majority wrote. “The respondent’s communications system, including its e-mail system, is the respondent’s property.”
Labor leaders attacked the decision, calling it part of board rulings that have favored employers and undercut workers.
“Anyone with e-mail knows that this is how employees communicate with each other in today’s workplace,” said Jonathan Hiatt, general counsel for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/american_federation_of_laborcongress_of_industrial_organizations/index.html?inline=nyt-org>  “Outrageously in allowing employers to ban such communications for union purposes, the Bush labor board has again struck at the heart of what the nation’s labor laws were intended to protect — the right of employees to discuss working conditions and other matters of mutual concern.”
The ruling comes as the nation’s labor unions continue to struggle to reverse their membership declines. They represent just 12 percent of the nation’s work force, down from 35 percent in the 1950s.
The two board members who dissented asserted that the employees’ interest in communicating with other employees about union activity and other collective concerns should, with regard to the e-mail system, outweigh the employer’s property interest.
They wrote, “The majority erroneously treats the employer’s asserted ‘property interest’ in e-mail — a questionable interest here, in any event — as paramount, and fails to give due consideration to employee rights and the appropriate balancing of the parties’ legitimate interests.”
The majority’s decision was dated last Sunday, the day the board’s chairman, Robert J. Battista, stepped down because his term expired. President Bush has not renominated Mr. Battista, with many Democrats threatening not to reconfirm him because he has been part of so many anti-union rulings.
The board overturned several decisions it had made in ruling that an employer does not illegally discriminate against pro-union speech if it lets employees use e-mail for personal communications but bars them from using e-mail for solicitations for outside organizations.
Adopting the reasoning of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, involving two cases concerning the use of employer bulletin boards, the labor board distinguished between personal non-work-related postings like for-sale notices and wedding announcements, on the one hand, and group or organizational postings like union materials on the other.
In many past cases, the labor board ruled that employers engaged in illegal anti-union discrimination if they barred workers from engaging in union-related speech on bulletin boards or telephones when they allowed workers to communicate on bulletin boards or telephones about other matters.
In its new ruling, the board’s majority wrote that employers can allow workers to use e-mail for personal communications while barring them from organizational-related communications. The majority redefined the meaning of discrimination and wrote that the Seventh Circuit’s approach “better reflects the principle that discrimination means the unequal treatment of equals.”
Adopting another new policy, the board appeared to allow employers to bar e-mail for certain organizational activities, like promoting a union or Avon products, but not organizational activities related to charities.
The dissenters said the majority’s decision, in allowing employers to bar solicitation with regard to some activities and not others, “would allow employees to solicit on behalf of virtually anything except a union.”

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December 12, 2007

2007.12.12: Mon., 12/17: Next Court Date for Michael & Evelyn Warren

Filed under: Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 11:11 am
Tags:

From:     Michael Letwin
Sent:    Wednesday, December 12, 2007 3:41 PM
To:    ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members; 1199 Members
Subject:    Mon., 12/17: Next Court Date for Michael & Evelyn Warren

Monday, December 17
Michael Tarif & Evelyn – (both!)
9:00 a.m.
Criminal Court, AP2,
6th Floor
120 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, New York

We are two attorneys, who practice law in New York City. As attorneys, we have a general practice, but Tarif is known for handling high profile criminal cases, and cases of police brutality, including those of Michael Stewart, Yvonne Smallwood, and the five Black teenagers falsely convicted of raping the white bank executive “the Central Park Jogger.” On Thursday, June 21, 2007 we became victims of police abuse in Brooklyn.

What Happened?

We were stopped at a traffic light in rush hour traffic, on our way to a legal meeting, when we saw members of the New York City Police Department apprehend, handcuff, and kick and stomp a young Black man. We asked the officers why they were doing this and ended up beaten and arrested, ourselves. Learn more.

What You Can Do

(1) GET EVERYONE to come out for the upcoming court dates
(2) SIGN UP for regular emails about updates, court dates and community support events (top of page). Sign up all your friends.
(3) WRITE the Mayor and Police Commissioner

Come back to this website and stay informed. Thank you.

http://justiceforwarrens.org/

December 3, 2007

2007.12.03: AI Action Alert for Gary Tyler

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Racism,Sentencing — nyclaw01 @ 11:12 am
Tags:

From:     Michael Letwin
Sent:    Monday, December 03, 2007 2:17 PM
To:    ALAA MEMBERS; 1199 Members
Subject:    AI Action Alert for Gary Tyler

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ACTION ALERT:

Urge Louisiana Governor Blanco to Pardon Gary Tyler

Urge Governor Kathleen Blanco to ensure that Tyler gets a new pardon
board hearing, and then pardon Tyler before she leaves office in
January

Gary Tyler, an African-American man, is currently serving a life
sentence without chance of parole for the 1974 murder of a 13-year-old
white student. Although he was only 16 at the time of the incident,
Tyler was charged as an adult in a trial that was seriously flawed.
Despite a climate of extreme racial tension in the town of Destrehan,
Louisiana, there was no change of venue for the trial. In addition,
the jury was all white; members of the black community were
deliberately excluded. Tyler’s defense attorney did not interview any
witnesses, failed to prepare for trial, and spent only one hour with
Tyler throughout the entire year previous to the trial. Furthermore,
since the trial, key prosecution witnesses have recanted their
testimony.

A federal appeals court has ruled that Tyler’s trial was
“fundamentally unfair,” but Tyler has never been granted a retrial. In
addition, three pardon boards have recommended to two separate
governors a commutation of sentence, but no governor has taken action.
As a life-sentenced prisoner, Tyler cannot be released unless the
pardon board grants a new commutation recommendation, and the governor
acts on it. Urge Governor Kathleen Blanco to ensure that Tyler gets a
new pardon board hearing, and then pardon Tyler before she leaves
office in January.

To send message to Gov. Blanco go to Amnesty International On-line
Action Center:
http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=25
90179&template=x.ascx&action=9562

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