News & Commentary

August 21, 2014

Buzzfeed reports that many former top officials from President Obama’s campaign team have now taken jobs opposing unions. 2008 Campaign manager David Plouffe just joined Uber, the taxi service that has ongoing disputes with unionized cab drivers and regulators. Robert Gibbs and Ben LaBolt, Obama communications strategists, started a public relations firm representing a group that uses lawsuits to oppose teacher’s unions and brought the Vergara v. California suit. (We’ve also covered teacher tenure, and the Vergara case.)  And Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, is now working for the Conservative Party’s reelection campaign in England.

In art news, the New York Times reports that the Metropolitan Opera reached a deal with its stagehands union early on Wednesday. This builds on Monday’s breakthrough in negotiations with the union representing its orchestra and chorus, which we covered. According to the times, the Met is no longer threatening a lockout, and expects to open its new season in September on schedule.

And in art news on the other side of the country, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Teamsters and Quixote Studios have reached an agreement to end their labor dispute over whether the Teamsters could represent Quixote’s drivers. Quixote Studios “rents trailers and trucks” to the movie industry. The Teamsters Local 399 and Quixote management announced that some drivers and dispatches will now be represented by the union, and there would be a secret ballot election soon where Quixote’s warehouse workers could choose to become unionized.

The New York Times reports that women in low-wage jobs are more likely to be lower paid and more economically vulnerable. Although “for most women, real wages have been climbing,” and although women’s paychecks have been rising faster than men’s since the 1980s, women are “more likely than men to be in a minimum-wage job” and more likely to be raising children on their own.

Unionized workers at Hyundai plants in South Korea staged a partial strike today, according to the Wall Street Journal. As part of an ongoing contract dispute, more than three-quarters of the nearly 50,000 unionized employees at the plants voted to authorize a walkout.

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