Today's News and Commentary–January 20
Happy Martin Luther King Day! The Washington Post reports that, this week, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Harris v. Quinn. OnLabor has covered Harris v. Quinn extensively, and we will continue to provide coverage as the case develops. A summary of the case can be found here.
The Washington Post also reports that Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced his final legislative package this morning. The package includes a proposal to raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016. Aides confirmed that increasing the minimum wage is the Governor’s top legislative priority.
The New York Times describes some of the challenges that adjunct professors face. Many academics who have struggled to find tenure-track positions at colleges and universities are now accepting positions as adjunct professors and lecturers. These adjunct positions often pay low wages and no benefits.
In the Los Angeles Times, Matthew Finkin and Thomas Kochan praise an agreement between Volkswagen and the United Auto Workers that calls for a new works council at Volkswagen’s Tennessee Plant. Works councils are elected bodies that represent all workers at a plant. The councils are designed to facilitate cooperation between workers and management by including workers in many business decisions. The authors contend that implementing a works council at an American plant could be an incredibly important step in the development of American labor law, and could signal the United States’ willingness to learn from other countries (where works councils have been successful).
Finally, in international news, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal report that tens of thousands of mine workers in South Africa plan to strike this week. The workers, who are represented by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, will demand higher wages. Some analysts predict that the strike will last at least two weeks.