Today’s News and Commentary – June 2

Published June 2nd, 2014 -  - 06.02.141


On Saturday night, New York’s Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo secured the endorsement of the Working Families Party, a left-of-center NY political party comprised of progressive unions, community organizers, and good government activists. The New York Times reports that the endorsement required weeks of negotiation, as the WFP had considered endorsing Fordham-professor Zephyr Teachout due to Cuomo’s middle-of-the-road policies. Mayor Bill de Blasio played a key role in moderating the crowd at the WFP convention. The New York Daily News reports that Prof. Teachout will continue with her campaign. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that an unnamed WFP candidate could garner 22 percent of the vote in three-way race. The WFP’s “inside-outside” strategy, creating an outside threat to the Democratic Party while offering the carrot of endorsement to reward Leftward shifts, recently came under fire in Jacobin Magazine.

In a commentary piece, Sean Higgins of the Washington Examiner foreshadows the impending Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn. The OnLabor blog has covered the case extensively.  The case deals with a “fair-share” provision of a collective bargaining agreement between a union representing Medicaid home-care personal assistants and the State of Illinois. Under the agreement, personal assistants covered by the agreement who are not members of the union of are still required to pay fees proportionate with contract administration and collective bargaining. The issues in question are whether the “fair share” provision violates the First Amendment rights of the personal assistants and whether the Plaintiff’s have a ripe First Amendment claim although a union does not represent them. Higgins mischaracterizes the issue, stating that the “justices must decide if Illinois state government can force its own public sector employees to participate in a union.”

In minimum wage related news, various states, counties, and cities across the continent are considering wage hikes. Toronto’s The Star reports that Ontario’s minimum wage jumped to $11 an hour yesterday, though many workers express discontent that the increase still does not keep pace with the cost of living. The Bellingham Herald reports that Seattle’s city council is expected to okay a $15 an hour minimum wage. Tennessee’s Maury County is considering raising its minimum for government employees from $7.25 to $7.80 an hour according to the Columbia Daily Herald.

In international news, the New York Times reports that management played a key role in spearheading last month’s Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings strikes. They are reported to also have participated in strikes at IBM’s facility in Shenzhen in March and Shanmukang Technology, which creates cases for Samsung mobile phones.

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