News & Commentary

December 24, 2014

The Wall Street Journal reports that American Airlines will offer 4% pay raises for all unions able to reach post-merger labor contracts with the company, while raising non-union pay by the same. The move comes one year after American and US Airways merged, as the new company is eager to build a common culture among its staff. This is tricky, “since many American employees have been at odds with their former leaders for years.” The company earned about $4.2 billion in 2014, which also might help explain its desire to spend more for labor peace at this juncture. While some union groups have already formed contracts with American, others remain in the arbitration process.

This week marks the first time that young immigrants in Arizona in the President’s DACA initiative can receive driver’s licenses, according to AP. Arizona was one of the last states to actually issue the licenses, as state officials had waged lengthy court battles against the policy. But after several courts ruled against the state, the path was finally cleared for young people to apply.

The Huffington Post covers a new report from the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights on the working conditions inside an Apple supply firm in Shenzhen, China. According to the article, workers “are pressured into working 65-hour weeks, made to sleep on plywood beds in bleak dormitories and harassed by the facility’s security force. The work is so exhausting that some of the estimated 15,000 workers choose to sleep through their lunch breaks instead of eating, the report states.” Apple said the company was already aware of the Shenzhen plant’s labor violations and had placed it on probation, meaning it “won’t be eligible for new orders until it proves its payroll records are legitimate.”

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