As part of the NAFTA agreement, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to allow trucks from each country to carry goods across the border for deliveries anywhere inside each of their respective countries, but the program faced challenges from the get-go. In 2007, the George W. Bush Administration launched a trial program to expand Mexico’s trucking operations beyond the border. However, the program ended in 2009 after Congress defunded the program following pressure from labor unions.
Following retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico, the Obama Administration established a new pilot program in 2011 that would allow long-haul operations in the United States by Mexican drivers, beyond the 25-mile “buffer zone” that allows U.S. truckers to transfer and begin transport of merchandise further into U.S. territory. U.S. labor unions objected but failed in their legal challenges against the program, and it was made permanent in January 2015. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, together with other groups, sued the Department of Transportation in 2015 over a report that they argued was not based on sufficient data to allow for these long-haul deliveries. The program remains in effect while that case is still pending.
Safety has been one of the biggest concerns raised by critics of the program. However, a 2014 Congressional Research Service report suggests safety likely has less to do with whether the truck originates in the U.S. or Mexico, and more to do with the type of truck being used:
Drayage carriers, whose trucks make short-haul movements and spend much time idling while awaiting customs processing, tend to use older equipment. Long-haul trucks tend to carry relatively high-value goods or temperature-controlled cargo, because lower-value goods and less time-sensitive goods can be carried over long distances much more economically by rail or water. If shippers are willing to pay a substantial premium over rail or water transport to truck their product long distances, it seems plausible that they would choose a reliable trucker with modern equipment to avoid risk of delay or spoilage.
Opponents of the program are almost certain to call for its repeal as part of any new NAFTA negotiations. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), Ranking Member of the House Transportation Committee, opposes the long-haul program and has already said he plans to raise the issue with Trump Administration officials.
© Copyright 2017 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP
DHS Guidance Memos Chart Aggressive Course to Implement President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration Enforcement
On February 20, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly released two new policy memoranda aimed at implementing President Trump’s executive orders on enhancing the public safety of the interior and border enforcement of immigration laws.
The first memo, titled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest,” immediately rescinded President Obama’s Priority Enforcement Program, which prioritized deportation of criminals and recently-arrived undocumented individuals, and gives immigration officials broad authority to deport “all removable aliens,” including those who have “committed acts which constitute a chargeable criminal offense” and those who “pose a risk to public safety or national security.” These enforcement guidelines mark a major policy shift that aims to dramatically escalate deportations of undocumented immigrants, potentially encompassing individuals who commit minor offenses like traffic infractions or who receive government assistance.
Secretary Kelly’s second memo, titled “Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies,” implements a dramatic expansion of expedited removal, a procedure that allows a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official to remove a noncitizen from the U.S. without a hearing before an immigration judge. Prior to this memo, DHS limited its application of this summary procedure to inadmissible noncitizens who either arrived at a port of entry or were apprehended within 14 days of their arrival and within 100 miles of an international land border. Under the new guidance, DHS is now authorized to apply expedited removal to anyone who has not been continuously present in the country for the two years before apprehension and to individuals encountered anywhere in the United States.
The memoranda instruct DHS to immediately hire thousands of immigration enforcement officials, including 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and 5,000 Border Patrol agents, as well as additional operational and support staff. Notably, the memos do not address how DHS will obtain the necessary funding for this hiring surge. Moreover, both memos call for a dramatic increase in the use of local law enforcement to act as immigration agents and enforce immigration law under Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
While the memoranda do not rescind President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, they make it evident that any undocumented immigrant who is charged with a crime, however minimal, is now eligible for deportation.
© 2017, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.
Nicole Minnis, lead publications manager at the National Law Review will show you how to use data from Google Analytics (and other readership information) to convince your attorneys that thought leadership is a critical and worthy endeavor. She will cover what core metrics you can extract from readership analytics that will be compelling to attorneys, where you can find them, and why they are important.Location:
One US Bank Plaza
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Validated parking is available in the 7th Street garage, located on 7th Street between Locust & Washington Avenue. Upon arrival, take the skywalk to the US Bank building and take the elevator from the bank on your right to the 35th floor.
Lunch will be provided.
$25 LMA Members
$35 Non-Members and any registrations after February 24th
Petitions for new H-1B visas are eligible to be filed on April 1, 2017, for federal FY 2018 beginning October 1, 2017. There are a limited number of new H-1B visas each year (65,000 and an additional 20,000 for foreign nationals with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher), which historically is used up within days of the start of the filing period. Last year, 236,000 applications were filed for the 85,000 slots. Now is the time to review your hiring needs.
Given the changing immigration landscape, you should also think about whether you want to file H-1B petitions for foreign students working on Optional Practical Training (OPT) and for employees working in TN or other treaty-based statuses who might be affected by upcoming changes and who you wish to retain.
There are considerable pre-filing requirements, so it is important to get started in order to meet the April 1st deadline.
Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2017
Looking to piggyback off the “keep jobs in America” theme touted by President Trump, the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union announced an ad campaign that urges people to buy union- and American-made cars. UAW President Dennis Williams said the campaign could be similar to the “Look for the Union Label” jingle in in the 1970s in support of the now-defunct International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. “If it’s not built in the United States, then don’t buy it,” Williams said in news reports.
Williams clarified that the union is urging consumers to buy union-made vehicles first, then those made at non-union factories in the U.S. The union-made then American-made caveat could put the UAW in a tricky spot with Detroit automakers, however, as five of the top eight cars on the 2016 American-Made Index by Cars.com are made by either Toyota or Honda. The Toyota Camry, built in Georgetown, Kentucky, and Lafayette, Indiana, tops the list. By contrast, the popular Ford F-150 pickup did not make the list because it fell below the 75-percent eligibility threshold for domestic-parts content.
The UAW did not specify when the ads might start running or how much they might cost. Presumably, the ads would be funded with UAW members’ dues, which average about two hours’ pay per month.
© 2017 BARNES & THORNBURG LLP
Employers generally recognize that their non-exempt employees must receive overtime premiums on their base pay – in most cases, their hourly wage – when they work overtime. However, not all employers are as well attuned to the requirement that overtime premiums may also be required on other, “supplemental” components of compensation to nonexempt employees. Bonuses are a common example.
By law, employers are required to pay overtime premiums on non-discretionary bonuses to non-exempt employees when those employees have worked overtime during the timeframe for which the bonus is paid (i.e., whether it is paid on a monthly, quarterly, annual, or other basis). The legal risks involved in violating overtime laws when it comes to non-discretionary bonuses is exacerbated by the fact that this violation is typically repeated as to other non-exempt employees who receive bonuses from the employer. As such, this is a type of violation that plaintiffs’ attorneys often look to bring on a class, collective, and/or representative basis.
However, as suggested by the reference above to “non-discretionary” bonuses, employers are not required to pay an overtime premium on all bonuses. Certain types of bonuses (and other “supplemental” forms of compensation) are excluded from the overtime premium requirement. Federal regulations, which California and other states follow in making these determinations, provide that discretionary bonuses may be excluded. However, this exclusion is very limited. Moreover, like many things in the law, the line between a “discretionary” and a “non-discretionary” bonus is not always clear. Accordingly, employers face risks when they do not pay overtime premiums on bonuses on the premise that the bonus falls under the definition of a “discretionary” bonus. Amongst the guidance provided by federal regulations is that “the employer must retain discretion both as to the fact of payment and as to the amount until a time quite close to the end of the period for which the bonus is paid. The sum, if any, to be paid as a bonus is determined by the employer without prior promise or agreement . . . If the employer promises in advance to pay a bonus, he has abandoned his discretion with regard to it.” Conversely, “[a]ttendance bonuses, individual or group production bonuses, bonuses for quality and accuracy of work, bonuses contingent upon the employee’s continuing in employment until the time payment is to be made and the like” fall in the “non-discretionary” category.
Employers who pay “holiday” or “end of the year” bonuses should also be cognizant of the potential requirement to pay overtime premiums on these payments. Federal regulations provide that “gifts made at Christmas time or on other special occasions, as a reward for service, the amount of which are not measured by or dependent on hours worked, production or efficiency” are excluded from overtime premium requirements. However, in a similar vein, if the amount of the gift, holiday or special occasion award is determined by hours worked, production, or efficiency, this exclusion is lost.
Ultimately, employers who pay bonuses and other forms of “supplemental” compensation to non-exempt employees should be cognizant of the potential requirement to pay overtime premiums on these payments and should consider seeking legal guidance in connection with their bonus programs. The need for proper guidance is especially important due to the class, collective, and/or representative action risks presented by violating this aspect of the law.
Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2017
On February 16, 2017, the New York State Industrial Board of Appeals invalidated and revoked the NYS Department of Labor regulations we wrote about previously (and updated here) governing payment of wages by direct deposit or payroll debit card. The regulations were scheduled to take effect on March 7, 2017.
In its decision, the Board determined that the regulations exceeded the scope of the DOL’s authority and imposed prohibitions that are beyond its purview. Specifically, the Board likened the fees associated with payroll debit cards to the fees associated with checking accounts and licensed check cashers, which are not subject to regulation by the DOL. The Board concluded that the regulations “go beyond regulation of the employment relationship and into the area of banking law, which is outside [the DOL’s] competence and expertise in the regulation of employment and occupational safety and health.” Further, the Board noted that the policy concern which the regulation sought to address – namely, that low wage workers without access to traditional bank accounts will be coerced into receiving wages by payroll debit card – is already covered by Section 192 of the Labor Law, which governs the payment of wages and which requires advance consent from an employee before an employer can pay wages via payroll debit card.
The DOL has not yet indicated whether it will appeal this decision, but we will be sure to keep you updated on any new developments. In the meantime, employers who have taken steps to comply with the regulations can press pause on those plans, but should ensure that their procedures for payment of wages are in compliance with all other applicable laws and regulations.
©1994-2017 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.
In re: Target Corporation Customer Data Security Breach Litigation — instructive 8th Circuit case re class certification
Jim Sciaroni v. Target Corporation Civil case – Class Action in Target Security Breach. The district court’s statement in the class certification order regarding Rule 23(a)(4)’s representation adequacy requirement are conclusions, not reasons, and on their own do not constitute the “rigorous analysis” of whether certification was proper in this case; the court has a continuous duty to reevaluate certification throughout the litigation and the court’s order rejecting an allegation of intraclass conflict made before final certification improperly refused to reconsider the issue solely because it had already certified the class; as a result the district court abused its discretion by failing to rigorously analyze the propriety of certification, especially once new arguments regarding the adequacy of representation were raised after preliminary certification, and the matter is remanded to the district court for it to conduct and articulate a rigorous analysis of Rule 23(a)’s certification prerequisites as applied to this case; “costs on appeal” for Rule 7 purposes include only those costs that a prevailing appellate litigant can recover under a specific rule or statute; as a result the bond set in this matter, which included delay-based administrative costs, is reversed and the matter remanded with directions to reduce the Rule 7 bond to reflect only those costs appellee will recover should they succeed in any issues remaining on appeal following the district court’s reconsideration of class certification. The panel retains jurisdiction over any remaining issues following the district court’s disposition on remand. The district court shall certify its findings and conclusions to this court within 120 days.
02/01/2017 Jim Sciaroni v. Target Corporation
U.S. Court of Appeals Case No: 15-3909 and No: 15-3912 and No: 16-1203 and No: 16-1245 and No: 16-1408
U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota – Minneapolis
[PUBLISHED] [Shepherd, Author, with Benton, Circuit Judge, and Strand, District Judge]
© Copyright 2017 Armstrong Teasdale LLP. All rights reserved