Weekend News & Commentary — January 14-15, 2017

After voters in the city of SeaTac approved a $15 minimum wage more than three years ago, employers at Sea-Tac International Airport sued, seeking to block the new law’s application to airport businesses.  Though the Washington Supreme Court eventually ruled against the business owners, thousands of workers were not paid the statutory wage in the aftermath of the dispute.  Beginning next month, however, those employees will receive settlement checks after an agreement reached on Friday that will pay out millions of dollars in back wages.

Avoiding the labor strife that accompanied Harvard University’s most recent union contract negotiations, Yale has reached a deal with more than 5,000 workers represented by Locals 34 and 35 of UNITE HERE.  The deal continues 14 years of labor peace, though separate disagreements remain with Local 33’s graduate student organizing campaign. The NLRB has yet to rule on that group’s petition for a union election.

The Washington Post reports that Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education, left a $125,000 donation to an anti-union group off her Senate financial disclosure forms.  The money was to help the group’s opposition to a Michigan ballot initiative that would have amended the state constitution to guarantee the right to collective bargaining.