News & Commentary

July 11, 2014

The UAW will breathe new life into its efforts to organize workers in the South by establishing local non-bargaining units near the VW plant in Chattanooga, TN, and a Daimler AG plant in Vance, AL. According to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, membership in the groups will be voluntary and they will not be recognized by the automakers, at least initially; they are modeled after German-style works councils. The UAW said these new efforts have arisen out of the narrow defeat at the VW Chattanooga plant earlier this year.

The New York Times reports that unemployment claims fell last week to one of the lowest levels since before the Great Recession, marking another sign of strong economic recovery. The Times takes this as a sign that “the long cycle of aggressive layoffs appears to be over.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, AFSCME will soon cut off ties with the United Negro College Fund, after that organization accepted a $25 million donation from the Koch brothers, who have been vocal critics of organized labor. AFSCME and UNCF had worked together for over ten years, with the union supporting the Fund’s scholarship programs for black students. AFSCME’s President wrote that the union viewed the UNCF’s acceptance of the donation as “not only deeply hostile to the rights and dignity of public employees, but also a profound betrayal of the ideals of the civil rights movement.”

In immigration news, the LA Times reports that the parties are as divided as ever on President Obama’s proposed solution to the increased number of unaccompanied minors at the border. The president’s plan to send $3.7 billion to the border for increased enforcement has invited a number of counter-proposals in Congress. One of these proposals, sponsored by Sen. John McCain, would significantly decrease the legal procedures that such children are entitled to, making them deportable without judicial hearings.

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