NLRB Ruling: Northwestern University Football Players are “University Employees”

protective football helmet and leather football with reflection

On March 26, 2014, an official for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Northwestern University football players are “university employees” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act, and not simply student-athletes.[1]  The significance of this ruling is that the NLRB has directed the players to vote by secret ballot to decide whether they wish to unionize, which would force Northwestern to listen and bargain with its players on compensation/scholarship awards for playing football at the university.

Sports Illustrated writer Andy Staples suggests “[this] ruling likely will have zero immediate effect. . . . and the ruling only affects players at private schools because the NLRB has no power over state-run institutions.  Still, the ruling should serve as the tipping point for the NCAA and the leaders of the schools in the five wealthiest conferences to realize it’s time to stop fighting and start bargaining.”[2]

According to the 24-page decision, between the years 2003 and 2012, Northwestern’s football program generated revenues of approximately $235 million and incurred total expenses of $159 million.  The decision also provides that scholarship players typically receive $61,000 each academic year for tuition, fees, and books.  Living-expense stipends are also provided to upper-classmen who reside off-campus; and additional funds may be provided to cover expenses such as health insurance, dress clothes for game travel, tutoring fees, and other assistance as needed.

Seemingly significant to the ruling were the facts outlined in the decision with respect to Northwestern’s control over the students in the performance of their duties as football players, who stand to lose their scholarship/aid for failing at any number of those duties.  The decision outlines duties such as: engaging in training camp six weeks before the start of the academic year, many days beginning at 5:45 a.m. and ending at 10:30 p.m.; devoting 40-50 hours per week to their football duties during the academic year in football season; obtaining permission from coaches to make living arrangements, apply for outside employment, travel off-campus, post items on the Internet, and engage in other types of activities affecting their private lives.

The docket activity[3] shows that Northwestern requested a review of the decision to the NLRB in Washington, D.C. on April 9, 2014.  The player vote is scheduled for April 25, 2014.[4]

~Shannon Reid~


[1] The full text of the “Decision and Direction of Election” by the NLRB can be downloaded at http://www.nlrb.gov/case/13-RC-121359.

[2] Andy Staples’s article is available at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140327/ncaa-athletes-union-ruling-northwestern/.

[3] The docket activity on this matter is available at http://www.nlrb.gov/case/13-RC-121359.

[4] The vote is scheduled at Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois on April 25, 2014, according to the Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/09/northwestern-football-team-union-vote_n_5120617.html.

Leave a comment

Filed under News, Of Interest to Law Students

ALR Student’s Corner: The Namby Pamby

nambypamby1

The Namby Pamby is a comical, legal blog that light heartily pokes fun at everyday issues lawyers may face. The blog is aimed at and will completely satisfy anyone who is looking for a little bit of humor to brighten the day.  Oftentimes, the blog creator uses humor to deliver helpful information about the legal profession to his readers. When he talks about the legal profession, he demystifies its more complicated parts with concise explanations and creates analogies of his legal experiences to everyday life. This makes the blog relatable to almost anyone who reads it.

nambypamby2

The creator of The Namby Pamby has made the website easy to navigate with a variety of tools available to the user.  These tools include being able to search for a blog post by the month, follow the blog by email, and read past comments. The Namby Pamby currently has over 2,443 people following the blog by email. Although there are a lot of followers, few leave comments, usually no more than three per post.  The small number of comments, however, is offset by the large dose of humor within them.

For nine years, the creator of The Namby Pamby has run the blog.  He generally blogs about seven times a month, but lately his level of output has progressively decreased. It would be nice to have a daily post because the blog is so funny and a great daily pick-me-up.

I enjoy that the blog is not too long and does not take a lot of time to read, which is very important for those with a busy life. If you are looking for a humorous read that includes some insight into the legal realm, I suggest you take some time to read The Namby Pamby.

~ Courtney Rudy, L’14 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advanced Legal Research, electronic resources, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

Free Online Resources for Criminal Law & Procedure: North Carolina Defender Manual Part 2

free

Here is Part 2 of our series of blogs on the free online resources available on the website of the North Carolina Court System Office of Indigent Defense Services (NCIDS).

See here for Part 1.

This blog will focus on Volume 2 of the North Carolina Defender Manual, available for free online as a pdf.

“Volume Two of the North Carolina Defender Manual, a reference in the School of Government’s Indigent Defense Manual Series, is a resource for public defenders and appointed counsel who represent poor people accused of crimes. The book focuses primarily on criminal procedure at the trial stage. Fifteen chapters cover a variety of topics such as personal rights of the defendant, selection of the jury, opening and closing arguments, witnesses, and appeals, post-conviction litigation, and writs.  This manual is also useful to others who work in the court system and who need a reference source on the law. It replaces the first edition dated 2002-2005.“

Here is the Table of Contents:

North Carolina Defender Manual Volume 2, Trial

Chapter 21:  Personal Rights of the Defendant

Chapter 22:  Duties and Conduct of Presiding Judge

Chapter 23:  Guilty Pleas

Chapter 24:  Right to Jury

Chapter 25:  Selection of Jury

Chapter 26:  Jury Misconduct

Chapter 27:  Miscellaneous Jury Procedures

Chapter 28:  Opening Statements

Chapter 29:  Witnesses

Chapter 30:  Motions to Dismiss Based on Insufficient Evidence

Chapter 31:  Mistrials

Chapter 32:  Instructions to Jury

Chapter 33:  Closing Arguments

Chapter 34:  Deliberations and Verdict

Chapter 35:  Appeals, Post-Conviction Litigation and Writs

Appendix A:  Performance Guidelines for Indigent Defense Representation in Non-Capital Criminal Cases at the Trial Level

Appendix B:  Preserving the Record on Appeal

Look for this symbol for future blogs on free online resources for criminal law and procedure:

free

Come see us in the library for more resources in print and online.

~Mary Susan Lucas~

Leave a comment

Filed under electronic resources, Free Online Resources, Of Interest to Law Students, Websites

Links We Love Weekly Round-Up — April 21, 2014

weeklyroundup

Law Professor on Cannon’s Search & Seizure Warrant Receipts

Guns, cash, bank statements and computers – just some of the items taken from Ex-Mayor Patrick Cannon’s home, office and business.  How will this evidence play out in court? Former Assistant District Attorney and Charlotte School of Law professor Mindy Sanchez says the briefcase will be the most crucial piece of evidence in the case for the prosecution.  Sanchez is also taking a look at how the FBI is linking the serial numbers on the cash to the bribery charges.

Things You Never Hear Successful People Say

Why are some people more successful than others? Why some feel accomplished while others feel like they are stuck in career rut? The answer is – their vocabulary. Though, granted, your vocabulary is heavily dependent on your mentality and the way you see your life, both personal and professional.  Here are the things you will probably never hear successful people say and the reasons why that’s the case.

What the Heck is Boolean Searching?

A quick explanation of Boolean keyword searching. Make your searches more effective!

Geocache: The Word that Won Scrabble’s New-Word Contest Is Totally Useless in Scrabble

When Hasbro last week revealed the 16 finalists in its add-a-word-to-Scrabble contest, devotees of geocaching—the game in which people hunt for hidden treasures using GPS-enabled devices—noticed that geocache was among the contenders…

Will the Reason for My Termination Turn Up in a Background Check?

A reader left this question in the comments to my post Loss Prevention is Lying to You.  Hey Donna, would you know if for example LP fired a person from a company, would other companies that person applies for be able to see everything that happened between him and the company he got fired from?  One of the very common statements I hear is, “I know they aren’t allowed to say that in a reference.” This statement usually comes from someone who is shocked (shocked!) to find out that their former employer gave them a very bad reference. Many people think employers can only give out dates of employment and job titles.  That’s dead wrong. At least here in Florida, an employer can say pretty much any darned thing they want in a reference. There’s a statute saying that employers can’t be sued for giving truthful information in a reference here and in many other states.

Observer Cartoonist Kevin Siers Wins Pulitzer Prize

Editorial cartoonist Kevin Siers, who for the past quarter century has skewered political egos across the Carolinas with the soft tip of a paintbrush, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize Monday.

The Authors Guild Files Brief in Google Books Appeal & Proposes That Congress Establish a National Digital Library

The Authors Guild proposes that Congress establish a collective management organization, similar to ASCAP, to license digital rights to out-of-print books. Authors, publishers and other rights holders would be paid for the use of their works, and they would have the right to exclude their books from any or all uses. The collective management organization’s authority would be strictly limited, however. It would not license e-book or print book rights (only the author or other rights holder could do that), and it wouldn’t collect its administrative fee until it paid the rights holder.

Stephen Colbert’s Best Bookish Moments

It was announced last week that Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report will be taking over The Late Show after David Letterman retires. While I’m sure he’ll do a great job, this news kind of gives me a sad. The Colbert Report is so smart and funny and whenever it’s off the air for more than three days I start going into withdrawals. Now it will be off the air forever! Where am I going to get my sharply sarcastic commentary on literature and art?  Fortunately, videos of the show will remain on the internet for a while (hopefully), so we can all go back and watch our favorite moments, like when Stephen makes fun of books. This happens A LOT. We’ve already covered his best author interviews, but here are a few skits that were played just for laughs, and brilliantly done.

Amazon Buys ComiXology, the Biggest Digital Comics Retailer

It might not be as exciting as flying robot delivery drones, but Amazon’s latest announcement is the purchase of digital comics retailer comiXology. If you’re not familiar with it,comiXology is a digital storefront for comics from almost every publisher. Once users buy their comics, they can read them online or through the iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire apps. ComiXology is the most-used platform for digital comics and was one of the top 20 highest grossing apps on iTunes last year. So it’s not really a surprise Amazon wanted to snatch them up.

5 LinkedIn Privacy Tips Every Lawyer Should Know

Elyse Hackney (@ecoopers), a customer success executive at Hearsay Social, recently shared 5 LinkedIn privacy tips for financial advisors. After I shared her tips on Twitter, Hackney was kind enough to allow me to share, liberally, her advice with you.  Like financial services, the legal profession places a premium on privacy. At the same time, lawyers ought not be so protective so as to be invisible and ineffective networking on LinkedIn.  Here’s five LinkedIn privacy settings you ought to take a look at…

Leave a comment

Filed under Weekly Round Up

A Study in Environmental Activism

Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness along the Appalachian Trail  by Jay Erskine Leutze.

Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness along the Appalachian Trail by Jay Erskine Leutze.

For anyone who loves the North Carolina mountains, the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Mountains… this is an all too familiar story. Jay Erskine Leutze’s first book is his account of the battle against a large gravel mine set to take down Belview Mountain in Avery County, North Carolina. Not only was the largest surface mine in the South to be located adjacent to homes in the small community of Dog Patch but also within close view of the Appalachian Trail, a federally protected park.

Jay Erskine Leutze is a non-practicing lawyer who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After law school, Leutze retreated to an “intentional” quiet life in Avery County intending to write, fish and hike. His quiet life ended in 1999 with a test blast that shook his home and a call from fourteen-year-old Ashley Cox that got him involved in a legal battle against Paul Brown and the Clark Stone Company. The case became known at the Putnam Mine case.

This book is the story of Leutze’s four year campaign that started with pulling together a legal defense team to a landmark decision upheld by the North Carolina Supreme Court. Along the way, his legal team partnered with advocacy groups such as the Southern Environmental Law Center, the Appalachian Trail Conference, and the National Parks Conservation Association to oppose the mine. In an ironic twist, they were also drawn into supporting the State of North Carolina as the state Division of Land Resources revoked Brown’s ninety-nine year mining permit, an unprecedented decision. The story clearly shows the twists and turns of multiple court battles as the case goes through the legal process.

Just as the case meanders through the court system, Leutze’s story fleshes out the importance of the area, describing in detail the scenic aspects of the mountains and the history of various parts and people like Sugar Top, a condominium complex built on the top of Sugar Mountain that resulted in North Carolina’s landmark Mountain Ridge Protection Act. Leutze’s humble tone and passion for the cause makes this an unusually attractive story. Here is a true guide to environmental advocacy.

landscape

 

~Betty Thomas~

Note:  Stand Up That Mountain has been added the Charlotte Law Library’s collection and is available for check out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews - The Stranger the Better, Books & Stuff, collection, Of Interest to Law Students

ALR Student’s Corner: Lowering the Bar

loweringthebar

Lowering the Bar is targeted at the legal professional, including students and practitioners. The author, Kevin Underhill, is a partner at Shook, Hardy and Bacon in San Francisco and graduated from Georgetown in 1993. His postings are humorous, yet true.  He prides himself on verifying information before he posts it to the blog, and embedding links to cited authority and other resources.

Although legal professionals enjoy the site, it is written in a very down-to-Earth way that appeals to law students and non-legal professionals, as well.  In a convenient column on the right side of the home page, Lowering the Bar offers 30 links to other outside sites. There are also links within the site to archives and useful resources such as commonly used pleadings. To ensure easy access, there is a column that lists over 50 areas of law alphabetically. This helps if you are looking for interesting items in a particular area such as animal law or environmental law.

loweringthebar2

Lowering the Bar archives older posts and, at the end of each post, provides links to other relevant articles on the site and metadata tags. At the top of the homepage, there is also a list of recent posts.  To make following the blog easier, there is a “Follow Me” button on the home page, links to social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and several others, and an RSS feed.

My first experience with Lowering the Bar was a Google search that listed the blog among other relevant hits related to a federal case, in which police in New Mexico manually searched the anus of a man believed to be hiding drugs behind his clenched buttocks, that I had decided to research as a result of a posting on Facebook.  I went to the blog and found a post discussing the “clenched buttocks” case and other current actions, as well as, links to the original news stories and subsequent others. Lowering the Bar has posted updates to its original post, including links to the federal court filings and news coverage of the victim’s police and medical records.

Mr. Underhill generally posts every day, sometimes several posts a day. They usually discuss recent news and are interesting and informative, while still being entertaining. The recent murder investigation of an undercover agent is one example of an interesting news item that has appeared in several blog posts. The police had ruled the agent’s death due to natural causes, even though his body was found inside a locked duffel bag that had been placed in a bathtub. The blog posts several pictures of the expert witness recreating the scene by getting into a bathtub and zipping himself into a duffel bag.

I love Lowering the Bar; it is easy to use and has a lot of helpful resources. The blog also is a great place to find a little bit of humor about the sometimes, very heavy subject of law.

~ Debra Chamberlain Marshall, L’15 ~

Class Advisor – Cory M. Lenz, Esq.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advanced Legal Research, electronic resources, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Postings

Books, Libraries and Serendipity

As we celebrate National Library Week, I encourage you to reflect upon the enchantment which attaches to certain books.  Book lovers know the value of a good book; how it may inspire, challenge, foreshadow and, in other ways, impact lives.  However, even book lovers acknowledge that sometimes a book is more than just a book.

ducks2

The embossed book plate bore the words, “Sioux City Public Library, Sioux City, IA” and the inscription read “From the Children of Sioux City, Iowa to the Children of Lund, Sweden.”  All in all, it was pretty straight forward, but I still had no answer for my friend, Nancy’s question – “Does your library often give books away to other libraries?”  It wasn’t an unheard of practice then, and it continues today. However, this exchange involved a heartland city of approximately 75,000 and similarly-sized city in southern Sweden.  Actually, I wondered how Nancy had happened upon that particular book. Or to paraphrase a classic, “Of all the books in all the libraries in all the world,” how did she pull that one off the shelf?

Nancy and I had been friends since college.  My goal was to finish grad school and land a job in a college or university library.  Nancy was finishing up her degree in education, but also planned to enter graduate school and earn her degree in library science.

As it happened, we were both side tracked. After graduation, Nancy married, temporarily put her career on hold and moved with her husband to Lund, Sweden where he pursued his post-doctorate work.  My first job after graduate school was not in an academic library, but rather as the Young Adult librarian at the Sioux City Public Library.  I was working there when I received Nancy’s letter.

My direct supervisor, Ella Lauritsen, was the Assistant Director and in charge of Children’s services for the entire library system. By the time I met her, Ella had served that library for nearly 40 years and was nearing retirement. She was of Danish heritage and her pride in her ancestry lead her to make almost annual trips to Denmark.  In my mind, it seemed logical that perhaps on one of these trips, she had taken the ferry across to Malmo, Sweden, boarded the train to Lund and had bestowed gifts to several libraries along the way.  For all I knew she traveled around all of Scandinavia presenting books to various libraries on each trip.  But when exactly would that have been?  At the time, the book in question was over 40 years old (and is now nearly 70).  Anyone, Ella, or someone prior to her, could have sent or taken the book to Sweden.

Many years earlier, 1941, in particular, Robert McCloskey published a children’s book, Make Way For Ducklings. The book, for those who aren’t familiar with it or can’t recall the plot, relates the story of a Mother duck who parades her baby ducklings across the Boston Public Gardens and is assisted by a kindly policeman who stops traffic for them.  The book won the Caldecott Medal, became a beloved classic and has delighted many generations of children, both in this country and around the world.  Even today, one may view the charming statues of the duck family in Boston Public Gardens.

Yet when I asked her about the book, Ella was stumped.  And, as it turned out, she didn’t carry armfuls of books around the world to other libraries.  She deliberated on how and when this title had ended up in Sweden. She also asked me how I had learned of it.

As I mentioned earlier, Nancy had put her career on hold while in Sweden. As a young mother, she often took her baby for walks.  Also, because her plans were to become a children’s librarian, she thought it would be interesting to explore some of the children’s books at the local library.  She had enjoyed reading Make Way For Ducklings as a child and was pleasantly surprised when she found the book on the shelf of the children’s section. The book, after all, had been translated into several languages.  What startled her was that this specific book was in English and bore the aforementioned book plate.

What made this situation all the more fluky was that I was in the midst of planning a trip to Lund in order to visit Nancy and her family.  In the days before internet access and cell phone availability, all negotiations had to be done by airmail letter or phone.  Because Nancy had no telephone, arrangements had to be made sufficiently in advance (again by letter) in order to ensure that she would be near a phone, should I call.  When I received this particular letter, I had expected it to include further plans and directions, but not a mystery that seemed to foreshadow the plans of two fairly unexceptional young women.

I never actually found an answer to her question.  Ella thought there may once have been, years before, an international children’s literature conference which had been held in Lund and that her predecessor had attended.  We could never validate this.  The predecessor was deceased and no one at the library actually recalled any literature conference.  It probably didn’t matter.  I have chosen to suspend evidence-based reality and, instead, embrace a more ephemeral explanation involving serendipity, kismet and karma.  Yes, sometimes a book is just a book and yet… .

~Susan Catterall~

Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, National Library Week Activities