News & Commentary

April 14, 2014

The Boston Globe reports that Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 718 have reached a tentative deal on a collective bargaining agreement. The fire fighters will vote on the contract, whose terms are currently undisclosed, this week and then the contract will go before the City Council. This is the first time since 2001 that the firefighters and Boston administration reached an agreement without going before arbitrators. 

The California Chamber of Commerce has released its annual “job killers” list, reports the Los Angeles Times. The list includes 26 mostly workplace-related bills that the Chamber argues are a threat to economic growth. These include a bill raising the minimum wage and one in support of paid sick days.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board argues that debates over teacher seniority and “last in-first out” policies distract from real education reform. The Board argues that teacher unions are failing low income students by continuing to support contracts that allow senior teachers to transfer from school to school while the District is partially to blame for failing to reduce class sizes down from an average of 37 students and hire more aids to support teachers. The Board ultimately argues that the District should cap the number of senior teachers who can leave low-income schools in any given year.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Bangladesh Federation for Workers Solidarity have alleged that Chunji Knit Ltd. factory employees have attacked and raped organizers engaged in a unionization campaign. A recent Human Rights Watch report suggests that such attacks are pervasive following a survey of workers at 21 factories. It quotes one employee as saying, “managers intimidate and mistreat employees involved in setting up unions, including threatening to kill them.” International attention has honed in on Bangladesh after a factory complex outside Dhaka collapsed last April, killing over 1,100 people. 

Washington Square News reports that New York University student organizers as well as Bangladeshi activists are pushing NYU to consider Bangladesh workers’ rights in its investment decisions. The Student Labor Action Movement argues that NYU should cut its ties with JanSport so as to compel JanSport’s parent Company, VF Corporation, to sign on to an accord that would allow independent safety investigations of Bangladesh factories. 

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