This Weekend’s News and Commentary: December 7-8

Published December 8th, 2013 -  - 12.08.131


The online edition of Time Magazine reports that one-day “flash strikes” are labor’s new weapon of last resort. According to the publication, declining union membership has made protracted strikes increasingly rare, as evidenced by the labor activity that took place across the nation this past Thursday at fast food establishments in over 100 cities.  The flash strikes were the culmination of a yearlong movement that began in New York last November. The goal of this movement is an hourly wage of $15 per hour and the right to unionize. Local labor activism groups, who receive funding from the Service Employees International Union, are responsible for organizing these strikes.

The Wall Street Journal reports that last week’s federal bankruptcy court decision in Detroit has opened the door for pension reductions in New York. The New York State Comptroller has determined that at least 23 cities in the state of New York are significantly or moderately stressed. An additional seventeen cities have been categorized as “susceptible” to stress. The concern among New York unions is that pensions will no longer be sacred, with the recent court decision giving municipalities new leverage.

The Associated Press reports that recent staffing cuts at hospitals in Indiana and around the country are forcing nurses and other healthcare workers to shift the focus of their job searches outside of hospitals, often resulting in lower wages. Nationally, the health-care industry has lost more than 41,000 jobs this year. While the American Nursing Association admits that the present is uncertain, it is confident that the situation will improve as the Affordable Care Act brings more people into the health-care system.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, one of the nation’s largest unions, may be facing the first challenge to its leadership in more than five decades. The U.S. Labor Department has found that the union violated federal labor law during an election taking place earlier this year.

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