Labor and employment law expert and Willamette University Professor of Law Keith Cunningham-Parmeter was quoted Sunday in an Oregonian article that discussed TriMet's decision to stop paying new front-line employees while they attend union orientation meetings.
The Oregonian reports that previously TriMet paid new employees for a one- to two-hour union orientation organized by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757. That policy changed in February when a TriMet labor relations manager told union officials the agency believed the practice is illegal, citing a 2013 law passed to prohibit public employers "from assisting, promoting or deterring union organizing."
In the article, Professor Cunningham-Parmeter says a technical read of the state law might support TriMet's position that it is prohibited from paying employees to attend union orientation. But case law around the National Labor Relations Act, upon which state laws for public employee unions (are) based, (has) found that paying employees for their time to attend union functions is generally allowed.
"This is not a novel issue at all," Cunningham-Parmeter said. "It's settled law that assisting a union in these ways is perfectly permissible."
Read the full article on oregonlive.com.
About Keith Cunningham-Parmeter
Keith Cunningham-Parmeter is a professor of law at Willamette University College of Law, where he teaches employment and labor law and focuses his scholarship on emerging theories of employment discrimination. Cunningham-Parmeter received the Robert L. Misner Award for Excellence in Faculty Scholarship and the Jerry E. Hudson Award for Excellence in Teaching and Leadership. His publications have appeared in leading law journals and have been cited in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the Harvard Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, and by United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
About Willamette University College of Law
Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship, mentoring and experience. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses, and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court in downtown Salem, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.