News & Commentary

April 24, 2014

The New York Times reports that since the NLRB ruled that Northwestern football players have the right to unionize, the University has launched a  “textbook case of how to aggressively battle a union.” The Times describes some of the University’s efforts, including coaches having one-on-one meetings with players, contacting players’ parents, and offering dire warnings about what might happen if the players do choose to form a union.

Meanwhile, Slate reports on lawsuits brought by the cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, and Buffalo Bills against their teams.  The cheerleaders allege various unfair labor practices including that the teams hold the cheerleaders’ wages until the end of the season, pay less than minimum wage, and require as much as 20 hours of unpaid labor a week.  The cheerleaders also describe working conditions that including having to pay fines for gaining weight and to perform “jiggle tests” for coaches.

According to the New York Times, a new study shows that the pay gap between men and women is byproduct of long workweeks rather than men and women opting into different jobs.  According to the study author Dr. Claudia Goldin, if women held the same proportion of higher-paying jobs as men it would eliminate only fifteen percent of the pay gap.  Instead, the disparity in wages between women and men is primarily driven by a wage premium for jobs expect employees to spend more time at the office. Goldin cites the legal profession as an example, noting that lawyers who work eighty hours a week are paid more than twice what a lawyer working forty hours a week makes.

In New York news, the New York Times reports the details of the new MTA labor contract.   According to the Times, the MTA will pay about $525 million by cutting the pension fund for LIRR employees and a trust for the health care costs for retired MTA employees.

In immigration and political news, The Hill notes that the Republican members of the Illinois congressional delegation – including Reps. Schock, Kinzinger, and Shimkus – are shifting to take more lenient stances on immigration reform.  Rep. Schock has endorsed citizenship for some illegal immigrants, while Reps. Shimkus and Kinzinger are now supporting a path for workers to be able to stay legally in the American workforce.

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