Today’s News & Commentary — April 12, 2016

Today is Equal Pay Day, yet equal pay for equal work is still far from a reality.  Read our coverage of how pay transparency may or may not be a solution, and how new EEO reporting requirements might be a step in the right direction.

36,000 Verizon workers are set to strike tomorrow morning, in what could become one of the largest labor disruptions in modern American history.  The New York Times reports that the two unions calling for the strike “represent customer service workers, installers, repairmen and other technicians for the company’s so-called wireline network” and have made little progress in 8 months of negotiations.  The unions are willing to compromise with Verizon on health care costs, but note Verizon has not committed to “protecting well-paying jobs and expanding the ranks of the workers who have them.”  The CWA and IBEW strike deadline announcement can be read here.

San Francisco transit workers, on the other hand, will likely avoid a strike under a new agreement reached yesterday.  The San Francisco Examiner notes that a tentative agreement between Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and unions extends the existing contract by four years, with limited changes for inflation.  Furthermore, “under the new tentative agreement, BART workers’ wages will increase about 2.6 percent a year to keep pace with inflation, officials said.  The unions — SEIU 1021, AFSCME Local 3993 and ATU Local 1555 — have 30 days to ratify the agreement.  The deal heads off potential strikes in 2017, the deadline for an agreement. Once enacted, the contract will be in place until 2021.”

California’s landmark family-leave law has been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, according to The Los Angeles Times. The new law “will allow people earning close to minimum wage to be paid 70% of their salary while on leave, while workers with higher pay, up to $108,000 annually, will get 60% of their salary during leave.  The change takes effect in 2018. It comes one week after California raised its minimum wage to $15 by 2022.”

A scorecard produced by the National Federation of Independent Businesses shows that Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland has a tendency to rule in favor of federal agencies on labor issues, as previously reported here.  The Hill notes that “in labor cases, NFIB found that Garland agreed with federal agencies 79 percent of the time, while businesses in labor cases lost 95 percent of the time.”