Today’s News & Commentary — March 29, 2018

Published March 29th, 2018 -  - 03.29.1816


Campus and local labor unions released a statement in support of the graduate student unionization effort at Harvard University, reports The Crimson. The statement urging graduate students to vote in favor of unionization comes a few weeks before the election, scheduled for April 18 and 19. Harvard and its graduate students have been involved in a protracted legal battle over the results of a unionization vote last November.

A study of workers at more than two dozen Gap retail stores in the Chicago and San Francisco areas concluded that more predictable and consistent hours can significantly improve a store’s profitability, reports the New York Times. The study assigned two-thirds of stores in the region to the “treatment group” in which managers provided workers with more consistent start and stop times from day to day and more consistent schedules from week to week. The change in average sales was 7 percent higher at the stores with more consistent schedules than the control group. One explanation for the increases was that managers may have focused on stabilizing the schedules of experienced workers, lowering turnover and helping stores perform better.

Twenty-two local unions announced that they would quit the Coalition of Kaiser Permanente Unions (CPKU) this week and would not take part in nationwide bargaining. The split removes 45,000 members from the coalition, with 70,700 members of 13 local unions remaining. This is the first major rift among participating unions since the Coalition’s formation in 1996, coming after months of tension between many of the smaller unions and the 46,000 member SEIU United Healthcare West. SEIU UHW sought more decision making over the Coalition’s direction and a more confrontational negotiating stance.

In a provision buried in the omnibus funding bill passed last week, Congress  removed basic workplace protections for Minor League Baseball players, reports USA Today. MLB team owners spent $1 million lobbying to exempt themselves from having to pay minor league players minimum wage and overtime. The new provision allows teams to pay players as little as $1,160 a month for a 40 hour week; MLB brought in revenues of more than $10 billion last year.

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