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Employee Protections Under the Federal Transit Act – What Transit Employers Need to Know

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Employee Protections Under the Federal Transit Act – What Transit Employers Need to Know

This is the fourth post in a five-part weekly series reviewing the legal landscape for transit employers considering automation.  Please click here to see the prior post in this series.

As part of our series on labor law issues for the transit employer considering automation, we turn now to the Federal Transit Act.  

In order to acquire, improve or operate a mass transit system, perhaps as part of an effort to automate, a transit authority may seek a construction grant or loan from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Authority (FTA) under the Federal Transit Act.  The Act requires, as a precondition to receiving a grant or loan, that an applicant enter into a “protective arrangement” with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) that provides for the preservation of certain employment rights and benefits of mass transit workers. 

Protective arrangements must provide for the preservation of rights and benefits under existing collective bargaining agreements.  They also require the continuation of collective bargaining rights, the protection of individual employees against a worsening of their positions in relation to their employment, assurances of employment to employees of acquired transit systems, priority of reemployment, and paid training or retraining programs.  Before the FTA releases funds to an applicant, the Secretary of Labor must determine that the protective arrangements are fair and equitable and certify that they are in place.  There are no provisions for waivers or exemptions from these requirements.

If the transit authority’s employees are represented by a labor union, the transit authority and the union may already be signatory to the National (Model) Agreement.  If not, the employer proposes a protective arrangement to the DOL which, in turn, refers it to the funding recipients and the union for negotiation.  The DOL has developed a “Nonunion Protective Arrangement” for use with nonunion employers.

Existing Protective Arrangements – the National (Model) Agreement

The National (Model) Agreement requires an employer to give the union at least 60 days written notice of each proposed change that may result in the dismissal or displacement of employees, or rearrangement of the working forces covered by the agreement, as a result of the project.  Either party may request immediate negotiations.  If no agreement is reached within 20 days, either party may submit the matter to arbitration and a final decision must be rendered within 60 days.  Other significant obligations under the Model Agreement include payment of a monthly displacement allowance for a period of up to six years to employees who are placed in a worse position with respect to compensation as a result of the project.  Any employee whose place of employment changes and who is required to move his or her residence is entitled to moving and traveling expenses and to his or her actual wage loss.  Employees laid off or deprived of employment as a result of the project are entitled to a monthly “dismissal allowance” and dismissed employees are entitled to priority of placement incomparable, vacant positions for up to six years, including training if necessary for the employee to become qualified for the position.

New Protective Arrangements

If there is no previously-certified arrangement, the DOL proposes the terms and conditions found in its “Unified Protective Arrangement.”  There is a procedure for either party to submit objections to the recommended terms, but the parties are expected to engage in good faith efforts to reach mutually acceptable protective arrangements through negotiation within certain timeframes.  The DOL will impose a protective arrangement when no agreement can be reached.

If neither the grant applicant’s employees nor employees of any other transit provider in the service area are represented by a union, the DOL certifies the protections contained in a “Nonunion Protective Arrangement” developed by the DOL.

The protections found in the Unified Protective Arrangement and the Nonunion Protective Arrangement track those found in the Model Agreement.      

Conclusion

An employer’s obligations under a protective arrangement are so extensive and of such duration that they should be considered when an employer evaluates whether to seek funding for automation through a construction grant or loan under the Federal Transit Act. 

Our series on labor law issues for the transit employer considering automation continues next week with a discussion of notice requirements under other laws and agreements.                                                             

For a more in-depth analysis and overview of the labor law issues discussed in this series, please refer to our white paper, Labor Law Issues in Deciding to Automate Mass Transit Operations.

Source: https://www.fisherphillips.com/autonomous-vehicles-blog/employee-protections-under-the-federal-transit-act

Blockchain

Axie Infinity Records Holders ATH: 420% Year to Date Growth

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Popular non-fungible token (NFT) gaming platform Axie Infinity continues to see increased adoption from users, following exponential growth in the number of wallet addresses.

Axie Sees Surge in Address Holders

According to data provided by IntoTheBlock on Tuesday (September 28, 2021), Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) ownership is on the rise, with 17,480 address holders. This figure represents a new all-time high (ATH) and a 420% increase year-to-date (YTD). Meanwhile, this growth is indicative of the rising popularity of Axie Infinity and play-to-earn non-fungible token (NFT) gaming.

Back in July, CryptoPotato reported that the value of the AXS token skyrocketed nearly 400% within one month, leading to a market capitalization of over the $1 billion mark. Later in August, AXS was among the assets listed on the major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Pro, which also gave it an immediate boost.

Axis Infinity, developed by Sky Mavis and released in 2018, arguably popularised the play-to-earn trend and has recorded a number of impressive milestones in recent times. Data from DappRadar revealed that the project recorded over $2 billion in NFT sales volume, solidifying Axie’s place as the most valuable NFT collection, thereby surpassing major names such as CryptoPunks, Art Blocks, and NBA Top Shot.

The data also showed that more than 600,000 users traded Axis Infinity NFTs, resulting in 4,887,645 transactions. The project currently boasts over 1.5 million daily active users.


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According to Jeff Zirlin, co-founder of Axie Infinity, half of the platform’s users got to interact with cryptocurrency and blockchain for the first time through Axie, while 25% of them did not own a bank account.

The Growth of NFT Gaming

The NFT industry is becoming popular with celebrities, major sports leagues, and companies buying digital art in whatever form, or selling them. However, blockchain-based games are seeing a special kind of attention.

A report by DeFiPrime stated that the NFT Gaming market has a total market valuation of nearly $180 billion as of August 2021, with the value estimated to rise to $196 billion. An excerpt from the report reads:

“NFT games may have the potential to become the standard for the gaming market if it sees enough attention and popularity. Already they have made major changes to games and made it much more fun for players. From there, it could be a very major change to the way people play games and could be as major as Doom was to the market or 3D was for environments.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/axie-infinity-records-holders-ath-420-year-to-date-growth/

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Blockchain

Bitcoin, Ethereum will draw their market strength from this key aspect

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Bitcoin and Ethereum are currently surviving a bearish scare, with both assets just about holding a position above their immediate supports. For Bitcoin, the $41,000-level is establishing a strong bounceback range while Ethereum has managed to remain above $3000.

On the contrary, some altcoins have recorded strong recoveries, with Solana, Bitcoin Cash, and Uniswap hiking by more than 10% in one 24-hour window.

Now, these altcoins seemed to have the relative edge at press time. However, there are a couple of key metrics which may allow us to evaluate the actual strength of Bitcoin, Ethereum as the market goes forward.

How much importance should be given to utility?

Source: Sanbase

Over the past few years, market stability has been dependent on different aspects. During the bullish rally of 2017, investor sentiment was key and when major traders started to become bearish, the digital assets collapsed.

Then, it was constructive institutional inflows at the beginning of 2019. At the time, it was suggested that institutions can allow tokens such as BTC, ETH to hold higher price positions. The price fell in 2020, irrespective of rising interest.

However, one key idea missed by most speculators might be the utility side of things, which is presently one of the most important functionality. Gone are the days when astute marketing allowed assets such as TRON to climb into the top-10.

Now, according to Santiment, Bitcoin has hit a two-month high in terms of circulation. What’s more, if the chart is closely observed, the average BTC transferred has risen consistently over the month of September.

Source: Sanbase

Similarly, Ethereum hit a similar feat but its 1-day circulation index was at a 3-month high, indicative of high token utility and movement.

Ethereum’s price has dropped sharply over the course of the past few weeks, but circulation has remained high.

Bitcoin, Ethereum spaces have evolved

Now, to be fair, it is important to account for volatility and the fact the circulation isn’t as high as it was during May 2021. However, maintaining a development and transaction-intensive ecosystem, one which allows the price to be built on strong foundations, is eventually advantageous.

Now, with respect to the assets that have grown over the past few days, besides BCH, both Solana and Uniswap are extremely utilized tokens. While one is the native token of a major DEX, another asset is currently responsible for bringing better L2 solutions.

Likewise, for Bitcoin and Ethereum, higher utility and circulation should keep the asset relevant, and progressively exhibit significant recoveries over Q4 of 2021.

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Source: https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-ethereum-will-draw-their-market-strength-from-this-key-aspect

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Blockchain

Swaps.app Offering Seamless Crypto Swaps With No KYC Process

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Swaps.app Offering Seamless Crypto Swaps With No KYC Process

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Swaps.app is simplifying how users are converting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by eliminating the current barriers available in the market.

The EU-regulated company is changing how people swap cryptocurrencies for money with its “swap’n’Go” approach. The platform is a user-friendly space that allows anyone around the globe to effort conduct various trading activities.  

Swaps.app has various unique features. The platform notably offers low commissions and a faster transaction experience to its users compared to many other venues in the market.

Swaps.app offers the lowest fees in the industry while at the same time offering the best buying rates. Transactions performed on the Swaps.app employ price execution from top liquidity providers. In turn, this assures that Swaps.app customers get the best price possible for their purchase.

In addition, transactions on the platform take about 3 minutes. This is because there is no Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process and allows transactions to take three minutes to complete. This is a breath of fresh hair since the registration process associated with cryptocurrency exchanges is usually lengthy and cumbersome compared to most. The process has notably caused many people not to engage in cryptocurrency trade. 

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Another notable feature is that coins get to users’ digital wallets within 15 minutes of payment approval. Swaps.app has two currencies available for purchase, including Tether (USDT) and Bitcoin (BTC). Currently, the platform is accepting two payment methods, Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards. Users can purchase varying amounts of cryptocurrencies up to €1,000 per month.

To merchants and developers, Swaps.app provides a convenient order widget that can be integrated into any webpage with just a few clicks.

In addition to being regulated by the authorities, Swaps.app integrates a full 3-DS V2 for safe and secure transactions. Reportedly, card purchases that use PCI DSS Level 1 certification will be authorized by code and verified by Visa or Mastercard ID Check.

Swaps.app is now available to over 160 plus countries and is available 24/7 throughout the year. The platform is owned and operated by Octo Liquidity, based in Tallinn, Estonia.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.

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Source: https://zycrypto.com/swaps-app-offering-seamless-crypto-swaps-with-no-kyc-process/

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