Today’s News and Commentary – January 14
Reuters reports that members of SEIU Local 1021, maintenance and clerical workers for San Francisco’s BART system, voted overwhelmingly to approve a four-year contract yesterday, ending a nine-month dispute that led to two strikes. Members of the Amalgamated Transit Union voted to approve the contract earlier this month.
In the midst of the polar vortex, subcontracted Walmart workers in Indiana staged an impromptu strike last week, refusing to work in the sub-zero conditions, Salon reports. The workers were employees of Linc Logistics, a company contracted by Walmart to run its Hammond, Indiana warehouse. The work stoppage forced Linc to close the warehouse for a little over a day, but workers were required to return to work in the unheated building on January 7 in temperatures still below zero. The workers subsequently filed a complaint with OSHA.
The Los Angeles City Council is expected to propose an increase in the minimum wage from California’s current rate of $8 an hour to $15.37 an hour for workers at hotels with 100 rooms or more, according to the L.A. Times. The ordinance, which is expected to be introduced in the next several weeks, would affect 87 hotels and approximately 10,000 employees.
The New York Times reports that an Indonesian domestic worker was allegedly badly beaten by her employers in Hong Kong, leaving her in critical condition. The worker was one of about 300,000 domestic workers in Hong Kong, many of whom are Indonesians who, like the injured worker, paid high fees to employment agencies to secure their positions. Amnesty International notes that Indonesian workers are particularly vulnerable to abuses by employment agencies who often withhold their travel documents to prevent them from leaving Hong Kong.