Today’s News & Commentary—February 23, 2016


Published February 23rd, 2016 - 02.23.1627


The AFL-CIO wants to create a new super PAC with a $1 million buy-in according to Politico.  The super PAC’s immediate goal would be to elect the Democratic nominee for president, but it would also be used to advocate for other issues that concern big labor.  Leaders appear to have become concerned that the labor movement lacks the voter-data resources of other liberal advocacy groups like Organizing for Action.  Without independent data, labor groups would operate at a disadvantage in advocating for policies where it opposes the stances of Organizing for Action, notably the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The Washington Post‘s Lydia DePillis profiled companies that provide online-platform-based services like Uber but retain their workers as employees rather than labeling them as independent contractors.  The founders of Alfred, a platform that provides personal assistant services, decided to hire employees so that they could maintain a high degree of control over how the workers carry out their tasks and to reduce turnover.  Similar reasoning prompted Honor, a supplier of home health aides, to retain their workers as employees.  Honor maintains that it has been able to provide training and maintain control while still allowing flexible scheduling that has been a hallmark of platform-based work.

After Birmingham, Alabama, passed a measure raising the local minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the Alabama legislature has been mulling whether to nullify the Birmingham measure by denying the city the power to set a local minimum wage, according to the New York Times. The measure passed the state house and is currently pending in the senate.  Commenting on the legislature’s efforts, Scott Douglas, the executive director of the social services group Greater Birmingham Ministries, said, “It feels like they not only want to snatch it out of our hands, they want to deny Birmingham the possibility to grow. . . . What’s the worst problem that Birmingham faces? It’s being in Alabama.”

After the success of laws hiking the minimum wage in other locales, the New Jersey business community is launching a campaign to fight similar efforts in that state, according to  NJ.com.  In addition to targeting a minimum wage increase, the campaign will fight efforts in the state legislature to mandate paid sick leave and amend the state constitution to require contributions to state employees’ pension funds.

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