NLRB General Counsel: Uber drivers are independent 7/9/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

The Division of Advice within the NLRB general counsel's office recently issued a memorandum describing why it believed Uber drivers should be considered independent contractors, not employees for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act. For that reason, charges filed by Uber drivers were dismissed.

The general counsel believed the Uber drivers to be independent contractors for two key reasons.

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Association boards approve plan to consolidate SNPA and Inland 6/5/19

In concurrent board meetings held Wednesday, June 5, directors of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association (SNPA) and the Inland Press Association unanimously approved a plan to consolidate the two associations, effective October 1.

Details of the plan approved by the two boards will be sent to members of both associations on June 7 for their consideration and vote. The result of the member balloting is expected to be announced on June 28.

The consolidated association is crafted to be the champion of the newspaper industry and a proactive voice that promotes the value and contributions of newspapers to the communities that they serve.

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How's your printing? 6/4/19

By Jane Nicholes, SNPA Correspondent

Judging newspaper print quality isn't a subjective undertaking but a matter of determining how well a paper meets a set of industry standards, according to Kevin Conner, quality assurance manager for The Washington Post.

"The key always rests on ink density and color registration. Those are the key components," he said.

Contest entrants with SNPA's annual Print Quality Contest are evaluated on how closely they meet the standards of SNAP, Specifications for Newsprint Advertising Production. These can be measured objectively with tools such as a densitometer for ink density.

Conner has chaired the SNPA contest for 15 years. Conner said SNAP standards not only make for a fair and objective contest, they offer individual publishers a way to judge for themselves how well their printers are doing the job.

A state-of-the-art printing press certainly helps, but the skills needed to make any press perform are paramount.

"No 1, know how to set ink and water balance correctly," Conner said. "No. 2, color registration: Be able to keep all the color pages in perfect register.

"And then, something that's kind of an intangible but extremely important: You need to have a press that's well maintained. These are the factors that are behind good printing. You have a workforce of highly skilled press operators who know their jobs inside and out."

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Mississippi Employment Security Department backs off 5/6/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

Very recently, a daily newspaper in Tupelo, Miss., received a determination from the Mississippi Employment Security Department that its newspaper carriers are employees. The decision totally ignores the exclusion granted by the legislature in 2012. Needless to say, the newspaper vigorously protested, appealed this determination, emphasizing the provision. The State of Mississippi backed off completely, agreeing that the newspaper carriers are not eligible for benefits and the publishing company is not liable for unemployment taxes or payments made to newspaper carriers.

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U.S. Department of Labor proposes new overtime rule 3/11/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

This writer and many others predicted that the Department of Labor, under the leadership of Secretary Acosta would publish a new proposed rule in March 2019. The new proposed rule would increase the salary level threshold that must be met in order to be overtime exempt under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

The new proposed rule, announced March 7, will increase that threshold from $23,660 per year (or $455 per week) to $35,308 per year (or $679 per week). This new threshold is far less than the threshold proposed by the Obama administration that was permanently enjoined nationwide by a federal court in Texas.

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New NLRB overrules Obama-era NLRB independent contractor precedent 1/29/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

On Jan. 25, the National Labor Relations Board, in a three-to-one decision, ruled that Super Shuttle drivers at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport were independent contractors and not employees.

This case is especially good news for the newspaper industry. The board in the new Super Shuttle case specifically referenced its decision in St. Joseph News-Press, a 2005 decision. In that decision, the NLRB found that home delivery carriers, single copy carriers and bundle haulers were all independent contractors.

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There is still time to participate in the SNPA Salary Survey 1/22/19

SNPA will continue to accept questionnaires for the SNPA Salary Survey through the end of this week.

This tool for daily newspapers helps them benchmark their salaries against those of other SNPA member newspapers.

All SNPA daily newspaper members are encouraged to take part in the survey, which includes job listings and several additional introductory questions – all designed to give you better data with which to evaluate your compensation plan.

Download the survey questionnaire (Excel file)

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NLRB general counsel issues new advice memoranda 1/15/19

By L. Michael Zinser, The Zinser Law Firm

In December 2018, new NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb issued several new advice memoranda. Advice memoranda advise local NLRB offices about how to proceed with a particular unfair labor practice charge.

In one such memorandum, the employer's "Commitment to My Coworkers" policy was found to be lawful. The employer required all employees to read and sign a "Commitment to My Co-Workers" document.

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P.J. Browning elected president of SNPA for 2018-19 10/10/18

P.J. Browning, publisher of The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., was elected president of SNPA for 2018-19 at the News Industry Summit in Nashville.

Three additional officers and eight members of the SNPA Board of Directors also were elected.

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Trustees, Officers elected for SNPA Foundation Board of Trustees 10/10/18

The SNPA Board of Directors elected five trustees for the SNPA Foundation at its meeting in Nashville on Wednesday morning, Oct. 10.

The trustees, in turn, elected their officers – also on Wednesday morning.

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