Today’s News & Commentary —March 29, 2019
Vox reported yesterday on unprecedented rates of labor organizing in Mexico since the beginning of 2019, which has sparked a national movement. Thousands of Mexican factory workers have been striking in Mexican border cities, demanding higher wages from the US companies and subcontractors in operation there. The workers generally earn about $2.50 an hour making car parts, washing machines, appliances and soda for American consumers. The strikes have coalesced into the 20/32 Movement, which is spreading beyond factories and demanding a 20 percent pay raise and 32,000 peso annual bonus.
President Trump signed an executive order Thursday approving 1.9 percent pay raise for federal workers, The Hill reports. The order overrides the pay freezes that Trump put in place in August; at that time the scheduled increase was set for 2.1 percent. The pay raise will retroactively apply on January 1st, giving workers an extra bonus to cover the last three months.
Illinois manufacturing workers were fired last week after a one-hour strike protesting discrimination and unfair treatment, Truthout reports. The workers claim that their strike was protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act, and they have filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The workers were employed at Headly Manufacturing, which produces precision-drawn metal stamps; they are not unionized, but they are supported by the worker organization Arise Chicago. One fired worker had worked there for seven years, and says he and his co-workers received no written explanation for their firing.
Anti-union organizations have filed over a dozen lawsuits in California since the Janus ruling, and so far the suits have been unsuccessful, the Sacramento Bee reports. The majority of the lawsuits attempt to force unions to let members leave before their contracts run out. The plaintiffs in the lawsuits are backed by right-leaning groups that are attempting to weaken unions at all levels of government, with some of the lawsuits attempting to force unions to pay back dues they have collected for up to two years.