News & Commentary

September 24, 2014

The Los Angeles Times reports that the L.A. city council is set to vote this week on a measure that would increase pay for thousands of hotel workers to $15.37 per hour.  Labor groups have praised the plan as a way to “pull hotel workers’ families out of poverty and inject more spending into the local economy.”  Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also supports an increase in the citywide minimum wage to $13.25 per hour, has promised to sign the law if it is passed by the council.

An arbitrator has ruled in favor of the American Postal Workers Union, deciding that the U.S. Postal Service violated its agreement with the union by filling some reduced-hour positions with part-time employees rather than union members, according to the Washington Post.  As a result of the decision, at least 9,000 jobs will become union positions.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the U.S. Department of Labor has sued a Philadelphia-based farm labor contractor for failure to pay minimum wages to 125 temporary agricultural workers.  According to the Inquirer, the “Labor Department seeks $146,100 in penalties for willful and repeat violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.”

In international news, the Wall Street Journal reports that 47,000 members of Hyundai’s workforce walked off the job on Tuesday, with further strikes planned later in the week.  Wage negotiations broke down in the wake of Hyundai’s decision to spend over $10 billion on a plot of land in Seoul, “three times the property’s assessed value.”  A union spokesman sharply criticized the purchase, calling it “ridiculous” that “[t]he company has rejected our demand, saying it will lead to a surge in costs,” while at the same time “spend[ing] an astronomical amount of money on buying a plot of land.”

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