News & Commentary

March 30, 2023

Peter Morgan

Peter Morgan is a student at Harvard Law School.

In Today’s News and Commentary: Howard Schultz denied violating labor law, Florida’s anti-union bill passes the Senate, and screenwriters and journalists call for fair wages. 

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz testified at a Senate HELP committee hearing on Wednesday morning, as Jacqueline reported. HELP committee chairman Senator Bernie Sanders questioned Shultz about the hundreds of unfair labor practice charges that Starbucks employees have filed over the past 18 months. Schultz maintained that Starbucks has not broken the law. After a short recess the HELP committee reconvened in the afternoon to hear from a panel. The panel included a former and current Starbucks barista as well as HLS Professor of Practice and OnLabor Senior Contributor Sharon Block, who remarked that it is a “bedrock of our democracy that the law applies to everyone.”

Also on Wednesday, the Florida state senate passed a bill that could weaken public sector unions in the state. As Elyse and Michelle reported earlier this month, key provisions of the bill would require unions to maintain 60% membership levels and would end direct deduction of union dues. According to a 2017 analysis, Florida has a higher public sector union density as compared to the states of the neighboring Deep South.

Writers across the country and in two different industries are demanding fair wages. As Forbes reported earlier this month, the Writers Guild of America contract with the major Hollywood production companies will expire on May 1st. The Guild intends to secure screenwriters’ compensation that keeps up with industry changes. And on the East Coast, members of the New York Times’ workers’ union disrupted the Times’ newsroom to protest the second anniversary of their contract expiring. Per Times writer Liam Stack on Twitter, staff have not received a raise in three years.

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