Today’s News & Commentary—May 10, 2017

Published May 10th, 2017 -  - 05.10.1730


A history professor at Yale offered her perspective on the Yale grad student hunger strike in the New York Times yesterday. She explained that Yale has refused to bargain with the eight departments that voted to unionize and is stalling until the President appoints new, conservative NLRB members. Meanwhile, grad students are coping with “meager wages,” student debt, and the grim reality that tenure-track jobs have significantly declined (down 10% since just last year). Before initiating the hunger strike, the Yale grad students tried sending letters, circulating petitions, and holding rallies to bring the administration to the bargaining table, but none of those tactics were successful. Now some of the students have for 14 days without consuming anything but water. Perhaps the grad students at the University of Chicago will fare better than their northeastern counterparts.

Credit Suisse has announced that it will expand its North Carolina operations with 1,200 jobs following the partial repeal of the state’s controversial HB 2 “Bathroom Bill.” A top official for the bank stated that the company was considering moving the jobs elsewhere until the partial repeal was announced because it previously seemed North Carolina “would not provide the inclusivity its employees need[ed].” While North Carolina legislators have reason to be excited about the announcement, critics point out that the partial repeal of the bill “still prevents local protections from discrimination over sexual orientation and gender identity.” Read more on the “compromise repeal” here.

WeWork, the world’s largest “co-working company,” is facing growing number of complaints about worker mischaracterization and unfair pay. In just two years, the number of employees at WeWork increased from 350 to 2200, and the company is now being forced to deal with its growing pains. Bloomberg reports that “[f]or some of these workers, the glamour of a job at WeWork, a company now valued at $18 billion, at first obscured the question of whether they were being unfairly denied pay.” However, workers are now coming forward, alleging that WeWork designated workers as “managers” to avoid paying them overtime, even though they spent much of their time on menial tasks. Meanwhile, the NLRB is reviewing the company’s arbitration policies, and the New York Attorney General is investigating its non-compete agreements.

And finally, the AFL-CIO has released its annual CEO Pay Ratio Report, which found that in 2016, CEOs of S & P 500 Companies on average earned 347 times the salaries of non-supervisory workers. That ratio is up from 335:1 in 2015. The report, and its subsequent calls to action, focus on two main issues in this arena: the failure of large companies to pay taxes on their offshore profits and corporate lobbying against pay transparency enforcement measures by the SEC.

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