Today’s News & Commentary — August 29, 2019
Today, Kamala Harris released her plan for Americans with disabilities. The plan promises to establish senior positions for persons with disabilities in the White House to allow for more input from the community on domestic and economic initiatives. Harris also says she would prioritize disability-inclusive recruitment throughout the federal government.
On Wednesday, the F.B.I. raided United Auto Workers President Gary Jones’s home. The raid was part of a multiyear F.B.I. investigation into misuse of union funds and bribery of union officials by auto executives. Federal agents also raided the home of former UAW President Dennis Williams and UAW’s training center, Black Lake. Five people affiliated with the UAW and three Fiat Chrysler executives have already been convicted of misusing union funds as part of this investigation. The UAW has stated that there was “absolutely no need for search warrants to be used by the government” because the union has “always fully cooperated with the government investigators in this matter.”
AT&T workers returned to work on Wednesday. More than 20,000 AT&T workers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee had been on strike since midnight last Friday. The strike began over AT&T’s bad bargaining practices, including sending negotiators who were not authorized to make decisions on behalf of the company. CWA District 3 Vice President Richard Honeycutt said, “CWA members’ spirit and solidarity over the last four days showed the company that we would not back down until they bargained with us in good faith. This was a historic strike that showed the power that working people have when they join together.”
The minimum wage is rising across the country. Citigroup lifted its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Tampa’s minimum wage for city workers has also been raised to $15 an hour. Starting January 1st, Minnesota’s minimum wage will be $10 for large employers and $8.15 for all other employers.
Forbes spotlighted a recent study by the Hamilton Project at Brookings that ties stagnant wages and economic inequality to the decline of union membership in the private sector. The study recommends “sectoral bargaining, wage boards, works councils, and co-determination in addition to making it easier for workers to form unions” to restore union power and combat economic inequality.