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Preview: Workplace Fairness: today's workplace

Workplace Fairness: Today's Workplace

Your source for the latest developments in workplace rights and employment law. "Today's Workplace" is the the blog (weblog) written by Paula Brantner, Program Director of Workplace Fairness. In each entry, Paula focuses on legal and political information


Postal Service Drops Staples Privatization Effort

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

The Postal Service’s experimental “pilot program” in privatizing the retail end of the USPS using Staples outlets has failed and ended. The “Grand Alliance to Save Our Postal Service” has forced the USPS to back off from partnering with Staples in their effort to privatize and undermine the wages and jobs of USPS employees.

Labor Opponents Already Have The Next ‘Friedrichs’ SCOTUS Case Ready to Go Under Trump

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

The Supreme Court gave unions an unexpected victory last year when it issued a decision in a case that had threatened to take away the right of public sector unions to collect dues from workers they represent. That win may be short-lived.

Day 1 in the Newly Seated Kentucky Legislature Is About Attacking Working People

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Kentucky Republican leaders, led by Gov. Matt Bevin, gained control of the state House, giving them control of the executive and legislative branches. Their first order of business? Go after working families.

Union workers, not Donald Trump, pushed Fiat Chrysler into creating 2,000 jobs

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Great news: Fiat Chrysler has announced a $1 billion, 2,000-job investment in plants in Michigan and Ohio.

New House rules allow Congress to slash the pay of individual federal workers

Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

The Holman rule, named after the congressman who first proposed it in 1876, was nixed by Congress in 1983. The rule, now reinstated for 2017, gives any lawmaker the power to offer amendments to appropriations bills that could, legislatively, fire any federal employee or cut their pay down to $1 dollar, if the lawmaker so chooses.

More U.S. Workers Have Highly Volatile, Unstable Incomes

Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Contributing to this inequality is the fact that while more Americans are working than at any time since August 2007, more people are working part time, erratic and unpredictable schedules—without full-time, steady employment. Since 2007, the number of Americans involuntarily working part time has increased by nearly 45 percent.

Trump Nominates Non-Free-Trader Robert Lighthizer to Trade Office

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

President-“elect” Donald Trump today announced his nomination of Robert Lighthizer for the cabinet-level office of US Trade Representative (USTR). Lighthizer, who served as deputy USTR under President Ronald Reagan, is known for criticizing Republican “free trade” ideology. Before serving in the Reagan administration he was chief of staff for the Senate Finance Committee.

Trump falsely claims he created thousands of new jobs, and news outlets lap it up

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

The suggestion that Trump is responsible for new, previously unannounced jobs is not true. The jobs are coming to the United States, but they are coming as part of a series of investments that were first announced in mid-October.

6 Ways We Could Improve NAFTA for Working People

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Today we released a blueprint for how to rewrite NAFTA to benefit working families. This past election there was much-needed discussion on the impact of corporate trade deals on our manufacturing sector and on working-class communities. The outline below puts forward real solutions that should garner bipartisan support if lawmakers are truly serious about realigning our trade policies to help workers.

Income Inequality Is off the Charts. Can Local Policies Make a Difference?

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The income gap between the classes is growing at a startling pace in the United States. In 1980, the top 1 percent earned on average 27 times more than workers in the bottom 50 percent. Today, they earn 81 times more.

Delivery Drivers Sue Amazon Over Misclassification, Failure to Pay Overtime and the Minimum Wage

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

A suit was filed against Amazon on October 4 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. It charges Amazon and Amazon Logistics Inc. with violating the minimum wage law in Seattle, state labor law in Washington and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This week in the war on workers: SoftBank investment is not necessarily something to look forward to

Mon, 19 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Donald Trump’s claim that, because of him, SoftBank would be investing $50 billion in the U.S. and creating 50,000 jobs was greeted somewhat less credulously than his Carrier claims. But it’s still worth an extra look at the details

Federal judge concludes transgender worker can sue for sex discrimination

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

A federal court in Kentucky is allowing a transgender workplace discrimination suit to proceed, recognizing that mistreatment in regards to gender identity constitutes illegal discrimination on the basis of sex.

Coal Communities Ask Trump To Honor His Promises

Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Coal miners, their communities and Faith groups are calling on President-presumed-Elect Donald Trump to honor his campaign promise to help coal workers. In an “Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump from coal miners,” hundreds of coal miners from Appalachia to Western coal lands asked for help for coal communities across the country.

Texas Bill Would Require Workers Under 18 to Get Their Parents’ Consent to Join a Union

Thu, 15 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Last month, the highest-ranking member of the Texas Senate, Jane Nelson, pre-filed 11 bills to be considered in the legislative session that begins on January 10. Among these bills is SB 75, which seeks to protect children from labor unions.

Los Angeles bans criminal history checkboxes on job applications

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Companies in the nation’s second-largest city must stop requiring job applicants to disclose criminal convictions on hiring forms next year after Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a “Ban the Box” law there on Friday.

If Uber Wants to Take Away Its Customers’ Rights, It Should Tell Them

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

It’s bad enough that a ton of corporations require their customers and employees to submit all their legal claims to private arbitration, a secretive system that is rigged against the individual. But to compound the unfairness, a growing number of corporations are hiding their forced arbitration clauses to make them more and more obscure.

More Than 6 Million Americans Who Want Full-Time Jobs Are Stuck Working Part-Time

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The recovery from the Great Recession has been long, slow and steady. But it has also contributed unexpectedly to an increase in involuntary part-time work, which needs new regulation to protect workers from abuse, according to a new study released this week by the Economic Policy Institute.

Donald Trump just attacked a local union leader for telling the truth

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Chuck Jones is the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents the workers at the much-discussed Indiana Carrier plant. That put him in the spotlight when he had to be the person to correct not just Donald Trump but much of the media by pointing out that Trump’s deal with Carrier had saved not the thousand-plus jobs claimed but just around 800.

Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary is a big ‘screw you’ to the Fight for $15

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

In an otherwise grim period for the U.S. labor movement, the fast food industry has been a hot spot for organizing activity. For the past four years, the union-backed Fight for 15 movement and allied groups have staged a series of nationwide, day-long strikes and protests in support of higher wages and unionization for fast food workers.

Enormous, Humongous $42.6 Billion October Trade Deficit Is Unbalanced

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday that the October trade deficit rose to $42.6 billion from a enormous and humongous 36.2 billion in September. That’s a 17.8 percent increase. October exports were down $3.4 billion and imports were up $3.0 billion. The goods deficit with China also increased, hitting $28.9 billion in October.

The Hope From Audacity: Fight for $15 Pulls Off “Most Disruptive” Day of Action Yet

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Chicago—The movement known as Fight for $15 started in New York City as a surprise one-day strike. The workers’ demands then were simple and bold. They wanted a minimum wage of $15 an hour and the right to organize a union.

The letter from Carrier to its employees that Donald Trump doesn’t want you to read

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

On Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump traveled to the Carrier factory in Indianapolis, Indiana to tout the deal he helped orchestrate to keep about 800 manufacturing jobs in the United States in exchange for state and federal incentives, including $7 million from Indiana.

DC Considers Cutting-Edge Paid Family Leave Law

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

“I sometimes imagine how my life would be different if my mom had the option of paid family leave,” Travis said. The District of Columbia resident was born prematurely. Because his mother could not get the time off from work to make necessary hospital visits to care for her fragile son, “She had to give me up to be raised in Florida by other family members.”

Fight For $15 Fights With Nationwide Strike Today

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0500

When do we want a $15 minimum wage? We want it now. 43% of the workforce — 60 million workers — are paid less than $15/hour. People will continue to fight for decent wages, the election of Donald “Wages Are Too High” Trump notwithstanding.

Wage Theft Against Immigrants Threatens All Working People

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

The United States holds sacrosanct the principle that regardless of who you are, or where you come from, your hard work will be rewarded. For day laborers in America, at least half of whom report experiencing wage theft, this ideal rings hollow. In a country so expansive and so diverse as America, there must be mechanisms in place to ensure the principle of getting paid for the work you do is a reality for everyone.

This week in the war on workers: What happens if Obama's overtime expansion is reversed?

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

President Obamaa€™s expansion of overtime pay goes into effect on December 1. But what happens if it gets rolled back in 2017?

Think It’s Tough for Labor Now? Just Wait Until Trump Takes Office in January

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

In 63 days, organized labor is going to find itself in a new political reality, which it seems totally unprepared for. Donald Trump will be president; the Republicans will control the House and Senate and one of Trump’s first tasks will be to nominate a new Supreme Court justice. Though Trump was tight-lipped about specific policy proposals, his campaign and the current constitution of the Republican party do not bode well for labor.

Employment Lawsuit Earnings - How Are They Split Up in a Divorce?

Thu, 17 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Divorce. Sadly, it happens every day. Fortunately, there are laws in place to help make things as fair as possible for a couple that is splitting up. That means that even the division of property is governed by laws. But what about lawsuit earnings? In particular, employment lawsuit earnings? How are they treated in a divorce?

The Bright Spots for Workers Amid Tuesday’s Disastrous Election

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Voters approved an increase to $12 an hour by 2020 in Arizona, Colorado and Maine. Washington voted to raise the minimum wage to $13.50 by 2020—and index it to inflation after that. In Flagstaff, Arizona, voters approved an increase above the new state minimum wage, raising it to $15 an hour by 2021.

Is TPP Really Dead?

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) dead or not? The President-elect says he is against TPP. TPP may be the thing that cost Clinton the election. The voters obviously were against it. The head of the Senate says he won’t bring it up for a vote. But House Speaker Paul Ryan hasn’t said a thing. And, of course, Wall Street and the giant multinational corporations want TPP and they want it bad.

If You Have a Preexisting Health Condition, Don’t Even Think About Leaving Your Job

Tue, 15 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

If President-elect Trump follows through on his campaign promises, millions of individuals-immigrants, religious minorities, people of color-face a very grim four years. One of the worst hit groups will be Americans with significant health costs. The Trump transition team published a brief summary of the incoming presidenta€™s health plan on its website, and the news is not good for the elderly, the poor, and millions of Americans with preexisting conditions.

Voters raise the minimum wage in four states and pass paid sick leave in two

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

Ita€™s become a regular feature of elections in recent years: Even as the federal minimum wage stays stuck at $7.25 an hour, with congressional Republicans refusing to raise it, voters resoundingly choose to raise state and local minimum wages.

Southern California SEIU Caucuses Call On AFL-CIO to Kick Out Police Union

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

In July 2015, the University of California’s student-workers union, United Auto Workers (UAW) 2865, passed a resolution calling on the AFL-CIO to terminate the membership of the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA).

Transit Workers Reach Agreement to End Weeklong Strike in Philadelphia

Wed, 09 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

On Monday, transit workers in TWU Local 234 reached a tentative agreement with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and ended a weeklong transit strike in Philadelphia. Nearly 5,000 employees are returning to work, and the deal now goes to the local’s membership for a vote, which is set for Nov. 18.

The airlines can support the people that support them: Why my family is fighting for $15 and union rights at O’Hare

Tue, 08 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

I work in the United Airlines terminal as a baggage handler at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Not too long ago, the people doing my job made $22 an hour. Then United outsourced the jobs to Prospect.

Where do we draw the line on political speech in the workplace?

Mon, 07 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0500

This yeara€™s election has stirred up a lot of controversy, arguably more than the most recent elections. Everyone is talking about the election, whether it is in person or online. What rules apply to the workplace and where do we draw the line?

L.A. Port Strike Today Over Federal Contractor Wage Theft

Thu, 03 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Truck drivers and warehouse workers working for federal contractors at the Port of Los Angeles are striking for 48 hours to draw attention to wage theft and other violations. These workers work for companies that contract with the federal Department of Defense. They say they have been misclassified as “independent contractors”, had their wages stolen and have been retaliated against for exercising the right to organize.

New U.N. Report Shows Just How Awful Globalization and Informal Employment Are for Workers

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Freedom of peaceful assembly and association, says a new United Nations report, “are essential to human dignity, economic empowerment, sustainable development and democracy. They are the gateway to all other rights; without them, all other human and civil rights are in jeopardy.” But these rights, says the report, are being jeopardized by the recent dramatic rise in the power of large multinational corporations and their dependence on global supply chains and the growing informal and migrant workforce

McDonald's settles with franchise workers for $3.75 million in wage theft lawsuit

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0400

McDonalda€™s is still insisting it isna€™t a joint employer of workers in franchise restaurants, but even so, ita€™s paying out millions to settle a lawsuit over labor law violations by a franchisee.

Saving for retirement isn’t simple when earning poverty wages: The old adage of spend less and save more doesn’t cut it for adjuncts

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Ita€™s National Save for Retirement Week, a time when financial services industry experts offer Americans conventional advice for preparing for their golden years. However, saving for retirement isna€™t as simple as these people would have you believe.

AFL-CIO Report Warns TPP Will Force Another Mass-Migration Into US

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Trade agreements can be used to boost prosperity on all sides of trade borders by increasing business opportunities, raising wages and increasing choices. Or they can be used to concentrate corporate power, cutting wages and choices.

Beyond the Fight for 15: The Worker-led Fast Food Union Campaign Building Power on the Shop Floor

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Disgruntled Burgerville workers began covertly organizing in 2015. The Burgerville Workers Union (BVWU) went public on April 26 with a march of more than 100 people through Portland, Oregon, and the delivery of a letter to the corporate headquarters in Vancouver. Some BVWU members call their effort “Fight for $15, 2.0,” playing off the name of the fast-food worker campaign launched in 2011 by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

North Carolina just lost out on another 730 jobs because of its anti-LGBT law

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

This week, North Carolina found out it is not getting 730 new jobs and a quarter-billion-dollar impact that it was the top contender for. The reason? Its anti-LGBT law, HB2, which bans trans people from using the bathroom and bars municipalities from protecting LGBT people from discrimination.

The Real Living Wage? $17.28 An Hour – At Least

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Fifteen dollars shouldn’t be too much to ask – or demand. In almost every state, a worker needs more than $15 an hour to make ends meet. Add in student debt, and the minimum living wage shoots up to $18.67 an hour nationally. A family with children needs significantly more.

This week in the war on workers: Pennsylvania state college and university faculty strike

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

After going without a contract for more than a year, and with their administration withdrawing from negotiation, faculty at Pennsylvania state colleges and universities (but not including Pennsylvania State University, confusingly enough) went on strike Wednesday.

U.N. Special Report: U.S. Workers Restricted in Exercising Basic Union Rights

Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

A new report finds that the United States fails to uphold the most basic rights of workers, particularly in the South, where some states “support or collude with employers to infringe upon workers’ rights to peaceful assembly and association.”

How Can We Do ‘Trade’ Right?

Thu, 20 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

People have figured out that our country’s “trade” deals haven’t been working our so well for “our country.” A visit to Flint, Detroit or almost any town, city, state or region that was built around manufacturing make it clear what we have done. Shifting jobs and factories to places where people are paid squat and are forced to work long hours with few protections while the environment is sacrificed might have put a lot of money into the pockets of already-wealthy executives and Wall Street “investors” but it hurt almost everyone and almost everywhere else in the country.

The Two-Tier Provision in the Chicago Teachers Union’s Tentative Agreement, Explained

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The tentative agreement that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) struck with district management less than an hour before a midnight October 10 strike deadline has been hailed by many as a victory.

Thanks to Obama, immigrants are getting better jobs

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The vast majority of undocumented immigrants who have been given the temporary ability to legally work in the United States are currently employed or attending schoola€”helping them make a€œsignificant contributionsa€ to various labor marketsa€”according to a national survey released Tuesday by immigrant advocacy groups.

Inequality Is Still the Defining Issue of Our Time

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

In 2011, President Obama, speaking in the wake of Occupy Wall Street, called inequality the “defining issue of our time.” Now Jason Furman, chair of the Council on Economic Advisors, argues that Obama “narrowed the inequality gap” more than any president in 50 years.

Black Livelihoods Matter: The Civil Justice System Needs Reform Too

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The Black Lives Matter movement has brought much-needed attention to the disparity in the way our criminal justice system treats African Americans. But there’s another side of American justice that matters too: our civil courts.

420,000 More Workers in Cook County Will Soon Have Paid Sick Leave

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The United States of America: land of liberty, bastion of opportunity, the world’s leading economic power. But if you’re a low-wage worker and wake up sick, you’d better clock in on time or you risk losing your wages and even your job.

Enormous, Humongous August Trade Deficit Prompts Trade Deficit Bill

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

“Trade” is generally considered a good thing. But consider this: closing an American factory and firing its workers (not to mention the managers, supply chain, truck drivers, etc affected) and instead producing the same goods in a country with low wages and few environmental protections, then bringing the same goods back to sell in the same stores increases “trade” because now those goods cross a border.

Our outdated school schedules are hurting working parents

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

School schedules arena€™t working for parents, and havena€™t caught up to the reality of modern familiesa€™ lives. The vast majority of parents 70 percent, work full-time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but the median closing time for a school is 2:30 p.m.

Chicago Teachers Are on the Verge of Striking—This Is Why

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Chicago teachers will likely take to the streets early Tuesday in an escalation of their campaign to defend their jobs and improve the education of the students and the communities they serve. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) has said it will strike if no deal is reached by midnight.

SEC Orders Company to Pay $500K For Whistleblower Retaliation

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

This past week, the SEC brought its first enforcement action ever to be based solely on retaliation against a whistleblower. On September 29, 2016, the SEC ordered International Game Technology (IGT) to pay a $500,000 penalty for terminating the employment of a whistleblower because he reported to senior management and the SEC that the company’s financial statements might be distorted.

Fight for $15 workers file sexual harassment complaints against McDonald's

Thu, 06 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Workers who are underpaid are all too often exploited and abused in other waysa€”after all, their employers know theya€™re vulnerable and need the paycheck.

A governor just sued his own attorney general over LGBT employment protections

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Louisianaa€™s governor just sued its attorney general over whether lawyers the state hires should be allowed to discriminate against LGBT people. If that sounds odd, thata€™s because it is. And though therea€™s an easy moral answer to the conundrum, the legal answer might be far more complicated.

Contract for Disaster: How Privatization Is Killing the Public Sector

Tue, 04 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Privatization is bad news for federal, state and local government workers, and the communities where they live. That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by In the Public Interest, a research group focused on the effects of privatization.

Uber And Lyft Drivers Organize To Fight Exploitation

Mon, 03 Oct 2016 00:00:00 -0400

“Gig economy” corporations depend on a low-wage economy in which lots of people are looking for ways to get by. Their business model requires disposable people willing to take low-wage jobs with long hours and no benefits so they can pay the rent, doing things for people who need to save as much as they can, so they can pay the rent.

Will Artificial Intelligence Mean Massive Job Loss?

Fri, 30 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

In the late 1970s, my early years at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB), the Department of Economics had two secretaries. When I retired, in 2008, the number of faculty members and students in the department had increased, but there was only one secretary. All the faculty members had their own computers, with which they did much of the work that secretaries had previously done.

No Justice, No Peeps! Workers Walk Off the Job At Pennsylvania Peeps Factory

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Workers employed by candy manufacturer, Just Born Quality Confections, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, are on strike over the company’s pension plan proposal. The strike, workers allege, hits the company—which makes Peeps, as well as Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales candies—just as next year’s Easter orders are meant to be made.

Nation’s capital wants to ban salary histories

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

A D.C. lawmaker says asking for salary histories a€œperpetuates the wage gap problem.a€ First, Massachusetts became the only state to ban employers from asking about prospective employeesa€™ salary histories. Then New York City and Congress followed suit. Now lawmakers in the nationa€™s capital want to be the next: A city council member has introduced legislation that would ban salary histories.

Trying to Teach Old Dogs New Tricks

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s open market committee concluded its two-day meeting to set U.S. monetary policy. In a vote that divided the Board of Governors, appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in an open public process, and the presidents of the regional bank board presidents, chosen by boards dominated by banks within their region, Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the FOMC, announced the FOMC decided to hold steady to its current Fed funds rate.

AFL-CIO Backs Dakota Access Pipeline and the “Family Supporting Jobs” It Provides

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) came out this week in support of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the construction of which was delayed last week by an order from the Obama administration—a decision that itself stemmed from months of protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux.

Why the Wells Fargo Scandal Shows the Need to End Forced Arbitration

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Since the financial crisis, banks like Barclays and UBS have been caught manipulating interest rates; J.P. Morgan has reluctantly handed over billions for its association with Bernie Madoff, illegal hiring practices, and lax oversight of its own traders among its other misdeeds; while Goldman Sachs has been fined billions for selling toxic subprime mortgages to investors. This past week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) fined Wells Fargo $185 million for creating fake accounts and assigning them to unwitting customers.

Working People Give a Bold Union Yes in Las Vegas

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

If you were lamenting that Labor Day’s current day association with leisure has obfuscated the true meaning of the holiday—don’t despair because the working people of Boulder Station Hotel & Casino got together over the Labor Day weekend and after a long battle said, “Union Yes!”

Uber Drivers Learn that Sometimes the Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Courts have an important responsibility to approve class action settlements and ensure that the plaintiffs and their attorneys are not selling out the class by colluding with the defendants. Sometimes, though, in their zealous protection of the absent class members, courts wind up forgetting the old aphorism attributed to Confucius: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.”

The gender wage gap hasn't budged in 9 years

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The average woman who had a full-time, year-round job in 2015 made just 80 percent of what a man did, according to the latest data from the Census Bureau. That’s up from last year’s 79 percent, but the increase is not statistically significant. The wage gap hasn’t closed significantly since 2007.

Minimum Wage Increases On the Ballot In Four States

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

This year, People’s Action affiliates in four states have seen their hard work pay off by successfully getting initiatives to increase the minimum wage on the ballot.

The Fight to Save UMass Labor Center Is a Fight for Worker Power

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) at Amherst is in turmoil. Its director, Eve Weinbaum, says she was abruptly pushed out of the position. In an alarming e-mail to alumni, students and allies, she protested funding cuts to teaching assistants and part-time instructors and, more troublingly, threats to the “Labor Studies faculty’s autonomy to make programmatic decisions and to designate a Director.”

Wisconsin’s “Smoking Gun Of The Rigged Economy”

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Companies extort tax breaks and subsidies by threatening to withhold jobs. After their demands are met, they instead outsource the promised jobs. For the workers who remain, the threat of outsourcing causes their wages to fall.

The Midwest continues its paid sick leave winning streak

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

There is no national law ensuring that American workers can take a paid day off of work if they or their family members get sick. But there are now more than 30 of these laws in cities and states throughout the country.

It’s Game On for Grad Students After NLRB Rules They Can Unionize

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

For more than a decade, the NLRB considered graduate employees to be students, not workers. As such, they did not have the same legal rights of most employees, including the right to organize. All that changed two weeks ago when the NLRB decision on the Columbia case finally came back, siding with the student-workers and their right to collective bargaining.

New Rules Needed to Solve Steel Crisis

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

China is gorging itself on steelmaking. It is forging so much steel that the entire world doesn’t need that much steel. Companies in the United States and Europe, and unions like mine, the United Steelworkers, have spent untold millions of dollars to secure tariffs on imports of this improperly government-subsidized steel.

Overtime for farmworkers passes California legislature, heads to governor's desk

Thu, 08 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The California legislature has passed a bill that would give farmworkers the same overtime protections as other workers. Now the question is whether Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not taken a position on the proposal, will sign the expansion from the statea€™s current law, which requires employers to pay time-and-a-half after farmworkers put in 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in a week.

D.R. Horton Rising: The Ninth Circuit Sides with the Seventh Circuit and the National Labor Relations Board on Class Action Waivers, in Morris v. Ernst & Young, LLP

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit took sides in a major split within the U.S. Courts of Appeals over the enforceability of class arbitration waivers. In Morris v. Ernst & Young, LLP, No. 13-16599, Slip. Op. (9th Cir. Aug. 22, 2016), the Ninth Circuit held that employers violate Sections 7 and 8 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) by requiring employees covered by the NLRA to waive, as a condition of their employment, participation in “concerted activities” such as class and collective actions. (Slip Op. at 1.)

Fox News Has a Sexual Harassment Problem and It’s Way Bigger Than Roger Ailes

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The Roger Ailes harassment scandal was never just about Roger Ailes. We knew that from the beginning: Gretchen Carlson, the woman whose sexual harassment lawsuit helped topple the Fox News chief (and unleashed a flood of similar harassment and assault allegations) stated that she’d only come into Ailes’ line of sight because she was pursuing remedy for a different instance of workplace discrimination.

This Labor Day, Thank Unions For Boosting Wages

Mon, 05 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Labor Day is now seen as the official end of summer and a day off (at least for those who actually get paid holiday leave) to grill or go to the beach one last time. But when it was originally conceived as a federal holiday, it was as a concession to the labor movement after bloody union unrest that left 30 striking workers dead. It was meant as a day to celebrate the efforts and sacrifices of unionized workers.

Why Supreme Court Nominations Are One of the Most Important Issues for Working People

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

With Supreme Court justices serving for life and having significant power in interpreting laws that affect our daily lives, the importance of court appointments cannot be overstated. This election, in particular, could shape up to be one of the most important elections in terms of shaping the court in American history.

Congresswoman Will Introduce First-Ever Bill To Get Rid Of Salary Histories

Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:00:00 -0400

When Congress gets back from recess, one of the first items on Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s (D-DC) agenda will be salary histories. She, along with co-sponsors Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), will introduce the first-ever bill to ban employers from asking about applicants’ prior pay before making an offer.

Mental Health and the Workplace: How Can We Change the Stigma?

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

I suffer from depression and anxiety. In our constantly-moving world, this is not uncommon. However, it is rarely acceptable to discuss.

Labor Department Issues Final ‘Fair Pay And Safe Workplaces’ Rules

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The Department of Labor (DOL) has released the final rules for implementing President Obama’s two-year-old Fair Pay And Safe Workplaces executive order.

Minneapolis and Arizona voters will get a chance to raise the minimum wage

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Voters in Arizona and Minneapolis, Minnesota, will have the chance to vote on minimum wage increases this November, according to court rulings in both places.

We’ve Finally Reached 2016 African American Women’s Equal Pay Day

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Today we commemorate “African American Women’s Equal Pay Day,” the day in the year when African American women’s wages finally catch up to what men earned last year. It is important to note that African American Women’s Equal Pay Day comes nearly four months after “Women’s Equal Pay Day,” which included wages of women of all races, and was marked on April 12th of this year.

Tyson Foods Fined $263,000 Over Unsafe Working Conditions In Poultry Plant

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The government just cracked down on the country’s largest meat and poultry processor for endangering its employees.It all began with a report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of a finger amputation at a Tyson Foods chicken processing plant in Texas.

Labor board says graduate students can unionize

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

According to the George W. Bush-era National Labor Relations Board, graduate students at private universities didn’t count as employees of those universities, no matter how much employment-type work they did. That means those students couldn’t unionize.

Postal Workers To Rally Against TPP Tuesday

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union (APWU) is holding its biennial convention in Orlando this week. As part of that convention, there will be a rally to publicize opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The Federal Reserve and Black Unemployment

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) that determines U.S. monetary policy met in July. Its job is to weigh the state of the American economy, both the labor market and inflationary pressures to set policy. In an interesting note, its discussion of the labor market explicitly noted the condition of the African American and Hispanic unemployment rates.

Domestic Workers in Ill. Win Bill of Rights: “Years of Organizing Have Finally Paid Off”

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Domestic workers in Illinois are celebrating a new bill of rights. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law last week, capping a 5-year campaign and making Illinois the 7th state to adopt such a protection.

Investment Bank Allegedly Retaliated Against Employee After She Announced Her Pregnancy

Fri, 19 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

After working at the investment bank Jefferies Group for nearly 12 years, Shabari Nayak thought she was on track to become a managing director. She says everything changed after she announced that she would be having a baby.

Postal Workers Fend Off Attacks in New Contract

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

They didn’t end three-tier in a single blow. But in a new contract covering 200,000 members, the American Postal Workers Union made serious headway and fended off most concessionary demands, including the Postal Service’s effort to create yet another tier.

This week in the war on workers: Teacher pay is falling behind

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Average weekly wages (inflation adjusted) of public-sector teachers decreased $30 per week from 1996 to 2015, from $1,122 to $1,092 (in 2015 dollars). In contrast, weekly wages of all college graduates rose from $1,292 to $1,416 over this period.

BREAKING—Fight for $15 Organizers Tell SEIU: We Need $15 and a Union

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

As roughly 10,000 conference goers gathered in Richmond, Va., to talk about unions and low-wage work, organizers behind the nationwide campaign demanded a union of their own.

The Fiscal Myth That’s Killing The Economy, In 7 Steps

Sat, 13 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

A new economic working paper reinforces an important reality: We need more government spending to repair the economy for millions of working Americans. Unfortunately, our political debate is being held back by an economic myth – one that has yet to be challenged in political debate, despite an ever-growing body of evidence against it.

Fire Departments, Airports and Military Bases May Be More Toxic to Workers Than You Think

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

Drinking water supplies for at least six million Americans contain toxic industrial chemicals at levels that exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recommended safety limit.

Undefeated Olympic U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Is Still Fighting For Equal Pay

Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

The U.S. women’s soccer team is already on a roll at the Olympics in Rio. So far, they haven’t lost a single game they’ve played, winning against New Zealand and France and tying with Colombia. They didn’t even give up a goal during the first two games and are now first in their group. They’re well on their way toward gold.

CUNY Workers Overwhelmingly Approve New Contract With 94% Voting Yes

Tue, 09 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

After six years without a contract, City University of New York professors and staff will finally get a raise. Members of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), which represents more than 25,000 professors and staff at CUNY, voted overwhelmingly—94 percent—in favor of a new contract.

Donald Trump’s New Childcare Plan Would Only Help The Rich

Tue, 09 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0400

In his economic policy speech on Monday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is expected to announce a new policy: allowing families to fully deduct the cost of their childcare expenses from their taxes.