Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Football Players and Unions? April Message from the President

Did you hear about the football players at Northwestern University who want to form a labor union?  Yes, you heard it right. The players say that since they receive scholarships to attend the school, they are in essence “paid employees.” They claim that since they are instructed by the football coaches on when to come to practice and how long to practice, they are being treated the same way employees in a typical company are treated.  The football players want to be able to bargain with the university on several issues:  “due process” before a coach could strip a player of his scholarship for a rules violation, financial coverage for sports-related injuries after graduation, and having concussion experts on the sidelines during games.

Now get this.  The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled the football players are in fact “employees” of the university, and they can hold a union election. Northwestern has said they will appeal the ruling.  The United Steelworkers union has jumped into the argument, and they are helping with the legal expenses of the football players.  But in the meantime, the football players are set to vote on April 25th.  If the majority of the 76 players vote to join a union---then they have a union.  Wow!

As we have told you many times in the past, the National Labor Relations Board is taking a very aggressive approach in favor of unions.  Even though this Northwestern ruling was made by one of the NLRB’s Regional Directors, it is following the lead of the five person Board in Washington that has recently made some “head scratching” decisions that favor labor unions.

But here is something to ponder. The NLRB has ruled the football players are “employees.”  Employees in every company receive a W-2 at the end of the year, and employees have to pay taxes on the income they receive.  Let’s see---a $30,000 scholarship per year for four years means the “employee” is in the 15% tax bracket.  Meaning the football player would have to pony up $18,000 in taxes.  If these football players are considered as employees under the NLRB, then why aren’t they considered as employees under the IRS rules? 
Think about it.

Kenny L. Colbert, President
Note:  The Employers Association is a non-partisan organization.  Our purpose is to help employers build better workplaces.  Our Message from the President is intended to provoke thought and conversation about issues that impact employers. Have a question or comment?  Leave it below!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Possible Overtime Changes - Coffee with Kenny


Coffee with Kenny is an ongoing video series from TEA President, Kenny Colbert. He discusses news, trends, legislative updates or just his thoughts on current events and their impact on the human resources profession. Please visit our YouTube channel to view previous videos.

In this edition of Coffee with Kenny, Kenny will clarify the current definition of an exempt employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and discuss how changes to that definition that could impact your business. 

 Kenny encourages you to stay abreast of upcoming changes to exempt status, as it will impact millions of employees if the definition of an exempt employee changes.  Your business may need to pay more employees overtime pay in the future. Think about it.

Would you like to sponsor a Coffee with Kenny video?
Send us a coffee mug today!

For a transcript of the above videoclick here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

TEA IN THE NEWS: Workplace tech etiquette: Effective email, cellphone communication on the job

Stephanie Vojvoda, Manager of Affirmative Action Services at TEA,  was interviewed for the Gaston Gazette article, "Workplace tech etiquette: Effective email, cellphone communication on the job":
"When it’s going to be a difficult conversation, when they’re delivering news that the receiver might not want to hear, it would be better to go to the person. But many times, people will write an email instead so that they can avoid that or a confrontation,” Vojvoda said. Here are some other email tips from Vojvoda:
  •   Use proper punctuation, spelling and grammar and don’t use text speak, emoticons or abbreviations.
  •  Write the email as if you were speaking directly to the recipient, or even more formal if you don’t know them.
  • Avoid sarcasm and joking. “Often, the reader is reading the content much differently than the sender.”