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Our general counsel gives his take on issues facing the 2016 NCGA

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Mike Okun recaps NCGA's 2015 and special sessions in a new 3-part video series

A new 3-part video series debuting today and featuring NC State AFL-CIO General Counsel Mike Okun aims to fill us in on three issues of concern to working people when the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes April 25th for its 2016 "short" session.

Active members of North Carolina's labor movement probably know or have met Mike Okun, who is a partner in Patterson Harkavy and has served as our counsel for more than two decades, offering advice and representation to unions and teaching labor law to union members at our annual Carolina Labor School. A union Ironworker by trade, Mike has made the practice of employment law and defending the rights of working people the focus of his life's work since climbing down from skyscrapers and into UNC law school.

Dubbed "Mike's Take", the video series includes three short recaps of what the legislature has done in the areas of worker misclassification, unemployment benefits, and North Carolina's controversial and discriminatory new law House Bill 2 (HB2).

Video #1: Mike's Take on Worker Misclassification

In the first video, Mike Okun gives his take on North Carolina's serious problem of employers misclassifying their workers as independent contractors and how the current General Assembly could still pass legislation to fix what the News & Observer called a "contract to cheat" because the practice robs workers of employment protections only given to "employees", puts honest employers at a competitive disadvantage to cheaters who can run more cheaply, and deprives the state and federal government of $467 million a year in uncollected tax revenue.

"It's not a small problem," says Mike. "The U.S. Department of Labor says as many as 30% of our workers are affected by this practice."

Watch the video, Mike's Take on Worker Misclassification:

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Video #2: Mike's Take on Unemployment Insurance

Video #3: Mike's Take on HB2