News & Commentary

April 17, 2018

Ross Evans

Ross Evans is a student at Harvard Law School and a member of the Labor and Employment Lab.

NBC News reports that the Campaign Workers Guild (CWG), an independent union launched in February to organize campaign workers, continues to face resistance among many Democratic politicians and party leaders.  Indeed, even CWG’s own mission statement specifically calls out this alleged hypocrisy, stating “[t]he Democratic Party, in particular, is a champion of labor rights, except where its own laborers are concerned.  Campaign workers routinely work more than twice the standard workweek for less than minimum wage and no healthcare benefits.  We sacrifice our health, financial security, and leisure time to support candidates and movements that we hope will make our society more prosperous, equitable, and inclusive.  It’s time for our employers to live up to the values they publicly espouse.”  CWG hopes to eventually have a party-wide CBA for campaign workers in both the Democratic Party and the GOP, respectively.

Organized labor enjoyed a major win on Monday when the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act failed to secure the sixty votes needed to end a Senate filibuster.  The bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives in January, would have ended federal labor-law protections for workers employed by Native-American-owned enterprises on tribal land.  OnLabor‘s own Senior Contributor Sharon Block, who is also both a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School and the Executive Director of Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program, was quoted in the New York Times, stating “[i]t’s a very, very troubling step at a moment when we should be doing everything we can to try to protect people’s collective rights and when there are so many people who feel so disempowered in this economy.”

Colorado teachers protested at the state Capitol in Denver yesterday.  While the movement is not yet a statewide strike, one Denver-area school district closed its doors for the day.  The teachers were rallying for increased pay and school funding as the state’s legislature considers a damaging reform to teachers’ pension funds.  Colorado’s teachers’ salaries rank 46th in the nation overall–and “dead last” when accounting for their level of education.

Air France employees–including pilots, cabin-crew members, and ground staff–are striking today for better wages, reports The Independent.  So far, at least 40,000 passengers have been stranded as a result of the work stoppage.  The strike is scheduled to continue tomorrow.  Air France management claims to have made their final offer, which will remain open until Friday, April 20.  The airline estimates that the strike will cost them $272 million.

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board argues that the primary reason teachers have been underpaid in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona is the states’ increasing spend on Medicaid and pension funds.

The Wall Street Journal examines the workforce’s increased demand for teenagers as the labor market continues to tighten in the United States.

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