Today’s News & Commentary — January 18, 2018
This Splinternews article highlights Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL), a worker center in Minneapolis that trains workers to become organizers and leaders in their own community. The article highlights Alexis Collins, who was a 17-year-old Burger King employee when she joined the fight for $15. After the initial success of securing paid sick days, Alexis began organizing others and has become a resource in her community. Similarly, Maricela Flores, a janitor at Target, organized with CTUL and helped secure one day off per week. Flores continued organizing her coworkers, and they then won the right to join a union and now are part of SEIU. Finally, Gernaia Marta was a packager of frozen food, who, with the support of CTUL, organized her coworkers to secure back pay and then became “hooked on organizing.” Ultimately, CTUL’s model is to support the interests of and develop the talents of workers themselves; as one worker noted “a lot of the coworkers that I met through organizing have lost that fear, because they have seen that CTUL had our back.”
The Federal Reserve released a survey yesterday showing that more and more businesses are struggling to find workers and are therefore paying higher wages to attract workers. This tighter labor market could indicate that wages will finally begin growing. The labor shortages have emerged in various sectors including tech companies, trucking, construction companies, healthcare, and retail.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will begin protecting health workers who object to medical procedures such as abortions for religious reasons. The new division within HHS will help doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals opt-out of providing certain medical procedures. While the details have not yet been released, conservative groups are hailing the policy as “enforcing the multiple conscience laws that have been passed since the 1970s.” Several women’s, LGBT rights, and physician groups thought that the policy would “impose a broad religious refusal policy that will allow individuals and institutions to deny basic care for women and transgender people.”
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and the state employees unions reached a three year agreement that provides state employees a 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment. While the previous contract expired on December 31, 2017, the state employees were working under temporary contracts. Governor Hogan’s office hailed this agreement as “tremendous news for the state and our hard-working employees.” Patrick Moran, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 3, which represents the largest group of affected workers, credited the union members’ persistence for making this deal possible.
Apple recently announced that it will repatriate billions of dollars in profits that have been sitting overseas and pay taxes of $38 billion on this income. Under the recently-passed tax bill, profits earned overseas are taxed regardless of whether companies leave the money abroad or bring it back to the U.S. With the resulting inflow of income, Apple announced that over the next five years it will invest $30 billion in U.S. facilities. This investment includes upgrading old facilities and building a new campus.