News & Commentary

April 23, 2014

Pilots at JetBlue Airways have voted to unionize, with 71% voting in favor of joining the Air Line Pilots Association, the Wall Street Journal reports. The pilots had previously rejected unionization in 2009 and 2011. Additional coverage can be found at the Washington Post and New York Times.

Sherpas at Mount Everest “took steps on Tuesday to shut down the mountain for the season, demanding that the government share proceeds from what has become a multimillion-dollar business,” the New York Times reports. The move comes after at least 13 Sherpas were killed last week in an avalanche. Among other things, Sherpas are seeking to raise minimum insurance rates for Sherpas, erect a memorial to lost guides, and create a relief fund to support families of those who died. Additional coverage can be found at Huffington Post.

The Wall Street Journal describes intensifying efforts by the American Postal Workers Union to oppose a partnership between the Postal Service and Staples. Under a pilot program, Staples stores in California, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Massachusetts have been providing postal services staffed by Staples employees. Last week the union protested at Staples stores in 27 states and “recently asked the nation’s biggest teachers unions to urge their members to purchase school supplies through other retailers.”

Terry O’Sullivan, the President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, severely criticized the Obama Administration’s most recent decision to delay the Keystone XL pipeline, the Wall Street Journal reports. O’Sullivan called the move “politics at its worst,” reflecting “a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country.” According to the Journal, 2,000 new jobs from construction would be created by the project.

Former cheerleaders for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills sued the team on Tuesday over the team’s pay practices, the Huffington Post reports. The cheerleaders allege that they are “wrongly classified as independent contractors and are subjected to policies that violate the state’s $8 per hour minimum wage law and other workplace rules.” Similar suits by cheerleaders have also been filed this year against the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.

The Associated Press reports that the job market for college graduates is improving slightly. The Labor Department announced that “the unemployment rate for 2013 college graduates — defined as those ages 20 to 29 who earned a four-year or advanced degree — was 10.9 percent . . . down from 13.3 percent in 2012.”

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