The Short Version: Union Rules

The Short Version: Union Rules

The point of it all is to break down the headlines, determine why an issue is important, and reveal the best arguments on each side of the story. Recently Cleo Abram explored the hot button issue of net neutrality.

Recently she tackled the massive, very unpopular tax bill for its huge implications on health care, corporate tax rates and the national deficit, and more. This week Cleo turns her attention to labor union and asks: Should companies be required to negotiate with contractors’ unions?

Note: If you have missed any of Cleo’s blogs, just go to our Home Page, type “The Short Version” into Search (magnifying glass icon) and poof, like magic, all her blogs will appear.

Cleo Constantine Abrams of the “Short Form,” offering densely packed spins on issues of national and global importance.


What’s happening?

On Tuesday, a government agency redefined who is an “employer,” changing who is liable for labor violations and how unions can negotiate.

That agency, the Republican-led National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), reversed a ruling that held companies accountable for labor violations committed by contractors and required them to negotiate with unions.

Back in 2015, a Democratic-majority NLRB held that the company Browning-Ferris should be considered a “joint employer” of workers it hired through a temp agency. The decision set precedent that allowed more workers to sue for violations and more labor unions to organize in industries with many contractors and franchises, like construction and fast food.

Why is it important?

In the new decision, the NLRB ruled a company would be considered the employer of workers it “directly and immediately” controls. That reduces the likelihood of unions gaining higher pay or better benefits from the larger, wealthier company. It also may prevent people from unionizing at all; The decision allows a company to fire a contractor if its workers try to form a union and collectively negotiate.

McDonalds, for example, would not be liable for labor violations in its franchise restaurants, nor would it be required to negotiate with unions of workers in those chains.

This is one among several agencies reversing Obama-era rules under President Trump; On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission’s abolished net neutrality.

Debate it!

Should companies be required to negotiate with contractors’ unions?

Read the debate here.

Why The Short Version on TIO?

About 10 ago, Telluride Inside…and Out began as a lifestyle webzine. Today, in the full knowledge that Telluride is a window on the world, we continue to bring the “zazz” (short for “pizzazz) of the region to a local, national, and global audience by covering everything from Telluride’s robust cultural economy – major events and festivals – to health and fitness and outdoor adventure. When Telluride travels, we write about places to go, people to meet too. (That’s part of the “Out” part of our handle, the other, obviously, Outdoors.)

And now, this weekly column, “The Short Version,” which offers simple summaries of issues of national and global importance.

“The Short Version” is written by Cleo Constantine Abram, the daughter of Telluride locals Eleni Constantine and Jonathan Abram (and therefore an honorary local and regular visitor) and a digital strategist.

Why “The Short Version”? Because, though we live in Shangri-La, our bubble is not impermeable and the rest of the world is only a click away. Because there is no inconsequential action; only consequential inaction. And because information is power in a moment so many of us are feeling powerless.

More about Cleo Constantine Abram:


Cleo Abram 2

Cleo grew up in Washington D.C., lives in New York City, and loves to visit her parents in Telluride. She authors “The Short Version,” a newsletter that explains each week’s most important issue and both sides of the debate around it.

Cleo is a digital strategist now working at Vox, a general interest news site for the 21st century. Its mission is simple: Explain the news. Politics, public policy, world affairs, pop culture, science, business, and more.

Cleo’s work focuses on ways to share, educate, and inform using online platforms. While in college at Columbia University, she guided the school’s entrance into online education through her role as the youngest elected representative to the Columbia Senate, which makes university-wide policy.

She continued her work on online education at TED-Ed, the educational branch of the nonprofit, building new programs and online tools to support high school teachers worldwide.

Continuing her work with TED, Cleo founded and led an early TEDx conference, the organization’s community-specific series.

Recently, Cleo returned to school, studying video storytelling at Columbia Journalism School.

Most importantly, Cleo loves to ski.


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