News & Commentary

May 13, 2014

According to the Los Angeles Times, cuts in federal funding could force Los Angeles to close seven day labor centers this summer.  In addition to connecting undocumented workers with temporary jobs, the centers “provide job training, English classes, and information on health, labor, and immigration laws.”  While opponents of public subsidies for such centers argue that they “encourage illegal immigration and legitimize a black-market economy,” supporters praise them for effecting “immigration reform at the neighborhood level.”  A spokesman for the mayor’s office indicated that the city hopes to find money to keep the centers open.

Detroit retirees face a difficult choice during “a crucial stage in the city’s bankruptcy case,” reports the New York Times.  The retirees must decide whether to support a proposed reduction in pension benefits, or to reject the plan, leaving any reductions in the hands of a federal bankruptcy judge.  According to the Times, “a yes vote would amount to a 4.5 percent cut for most retiree pensions and the elimination of cost-of-living increases.”  On the other hand, “[a] no vote could lead to pension losses of up to 27 percent.”

The Washington Post describes an ongoing dispute between the United Farm Workers and one of the nation’s largest fruit farms.  Six months ago, workers at the farm voted on whether to decertify the UFW as their bargaining representative. The ballots have yet to be counted, however, as the union has alleged that signatures on the petition calling for the vote were the product of illegal coercion.

The Associated Press reports that Reiner Hoffmann, the newly elected head of the German Trade Union Confederation, plans to push for the speedy adoption of a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros per hour.  Hoffman, whose organization “represents German unions in dealing with government authorities, political parties, employers’ organizations and others,” also hopes to promote union membership among young people.

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