Today’s News & Commentary — December 8, 2017

Published December 8th, 2017 -  - 12.08.1715


On Capitol Hill yesterday, Senator Al Franken resigned after allegations that he had sexually harassed several women.  Meanwhile, the House Administration Committee held hearings in which it heard from employment law experts as it develops plans to reform how sexual harassment claims are handled in Congress, the Washington Post reports.

Over 1,000 food service workers at O’Hare voted yesterday to strike for higher wages and affordable health insurance, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Unite Here Local 1 has not said when the strike would occur; the workers’ contracts expired in August.  The contractor that operates O’Hare’s food services said that everything would remain staffed through a strike.

Next month’s Atlantic discusses the spread of automation in the food services industry, where computers or robots are now taking orders and preparing food.  Some companies claim that the automation will be good for  job growth on the theory that automation fuels sales and boosts efficiency.

In a review of two books for In These Times, Shaun Richman writes about the long history of employers’ attempts to break up union campaigns.  Examining the “open shop” campaigns of the early twentieth century discussed in Chad Pearson’s Reform or Repression: Organizing America’s Anti-Union Movement, as well as the rise of “union avoidance” consultants amidst new worker organizing pushes in the 1970s retold in Lane Windham’s Knocking on Labor’s Door: Union Organizing in the 1970s and the Roots of a New Economic Divide, Richman’s essay highlights the evolving strategies employers have used against unionization efforts.

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