Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Heroes of Harvard

 “Harvard is a role model for many employers.”

"Harvard settles suit, will reclassify contractors as staff" by Katie Johnston Globe Staff  March 16, 2018

Harvard University has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit over misclassifying workers as independent contractors and will adjust its labor policies university-wide as part of the settlement.

About 20 workers at the school’s Center for Wellness will be reclassified as employees and will receive as much as $30,000 apiece in back pay, according to Shannon Liss-Riordan, the lawyer representing the workers. Lead plaintiff Kara Donohoe, a massage therapist who has worked at the center since 2004, said the center treated her as an employee under state law — setting her appointments, determining her rates, and forbidding her to accept tips — and she was therefore entitled to paid vacation and holidays and other staff benefits.

Massachusetts has a strict definition of what constitutes an independent contractor, including stipulations that a worker is “free from control and direction” and that the job must fall “outside the usual course of the business of the employer.”

In a statement, Donohoe said, “I was just talking with a co-worker about having to take so many snow days off this past two weeks without pay and how great it will be as an employee not to have to worry about that. . . . I’m really looking forward to being able to take a vacation and give my body a rest without giving my bank account a rest as well.”

Don't expect a bonus.

Employees such as Donohoe who work at least 17.5 hours a week will also become part of the Harvard Union of Clerical and Technical Workers.

In a statement, Harvard said, “The settlement represents a mutually agreeable closure to the case in order to avoid protracted litigation, and it further underscores the contributions of the massage therapists and acupuncturists to the center’s mission.”

The school has convened a group to revise its independent-contractor policy to reflect state and federal law, according to the settlement agreement. Liss-Riordan, a Harvard alumna who has handled dozens of worker misclassification lawsuits, including a high-profile case pending against the ride-hailing service Uber, stressed that the revised policy could have a “far-reaching impact.”

“It is extremely challenging to obtain actual reclassification,” she said, noting that many companies she has sued over the issue move out of state or adjust their practices so they can continue to use independent contractors, which can lead to more lawsuits. “Harvard is a role model for many employers out there, and I hope other employers take note of how Harvard handled the situation.”

The state Appeals Court recently found that delivery drivers for the Patriot Ledger newspaper are employees of GateHouse Media, not independent contractors, but as of yet the company has not committed to reclassifying the drivers.


Now you are part of the herd:

"Boston gives Amazon $5m tax break for 2,000 jobs in Seaport" by Tim Logan Globe Staff  March 16, 2018

A key city agency Thursday night gave the green light to $5 million in tax breaks for Amazon’s planned expansion in the Seaport.

The Boston Planning & Development Agency board voted 5-0 to approve the incentives — to be awarded over 15 years — if the e-commerce giant creates 2,000 jobs by 2025 and leases most or all of a new office building planned at Seaport Square along Congress Street. Under the deal, Amazon could collect a second $5 million if it takes two buildings and adds 4,000 jobs.

State tax incentives may yet be on the table as well.

Blue-chip companies have flocked to new buildings in the Seaport in recent years, and most have not received any city tax breaks to do so. Amazon, however, is bringing more jobs than most, and city officials are eager to build a relationship with the fast-growing retail behemoth.

“We’re really excited about this particular tenant,” said Jonathan Greeley, director of development review at the BPDA. “We’ve been judicious in awarding tax breaks. We are very pleased to be having this dialogue with Amazon.”

Even after the tax breaks, the building will pay far more in property taxes than the parking lot on the site does today, Greeley said, and Boston will add 2,000 well-paying jobs. Amazon will also work with the city on technology job-training programs. And, Greeley said, the deal will help cement the company’s growing presence in Boston.

Amazon is also talking with Boston about putting its so-called second headquarters here.....

They can't talk about that due to the non-disclosure agreement they signed.



Condo tower approved for Boylston Street

Adam Weiner of Weiner Ventures said he is aiming for a fall groundbreaking.

Second Nike executive is said to be leaving amid conduct review

Must not have been a good fit because they don't say why.

How cryptic.

Why are people still flying United?

I was wondering that myself after these:

December — United apologizes to a passenger and gives her a $500 travel voucher after she accused the company of giving away her first-class seat to a Texas congresswoman.

A former education adviser to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says she was repeatedly groped by a drunk man on a United flight to New Jersey and airline officials did not do more to protect her and other women from a “visibly, highly intoxicated” man.

January 2018 — A woman about to fly from Pueblo, Colo., to visit her dying mother one last time in Minnesota is removed from the plane over a ticketing issue. She is forced to drive. Her mother passes away by the time she arrives.

February — A United employee tells a woman that her purse is too large to carry on the plane, despite its fitting into the test rack. The employee is filmed taking the bag out and deliberately putting it in the rack sideways so it will not fit.

March —A 10-month-old puppy dies after a United flight attendant insists that the dog needs to go into an overhead bin during a flight from Houston to New York.

And what is it with the treatment of animals, vets, and old folks?

As always, the Globe knows what to do to solve the problem (go by boat?).