Today’s News & Commentary – May 26, 2015
The long-running West Coast ports labor dispute has formally ended, according to The Wall Street Journal. The International Longshore & Warehouse Union announced that 82% of the 20,000 cargo handlers they represent at 29 ports ratified a five-year agreement with terminal operators and shipping companies. Shipping delays resulting from the dispute could cost retailers $7 billion this year, and there is hope the workers and operators will work together to recover the ports’ business.
Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed an executive order rescinding collective bargaining rights for in-home health care and child care workers in the state, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Gov. Kasich argues that the workers no longer need collective bargaining rights because health care is now more easily accessible. Over 10,000 workers will be affected. Service Employees International Union District 1199 President Becky Williams said that “Kasich is effectively attempting to silence thousands of low-wage workers, women and people of color from their ability to advocate for their clients and preserve quality care and services to the children, seniors and people with disabilities in our communities.”
In India, 11 central trade unions will go on a nationwide strike September 2 against what they say are anti-worker policies of the government, according to The Economic Times. The strike announcement damages the government of Prime Minister Narenda Modi, which had hoped to create a committee to address trade union grievances.
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote that he has rejoined the Communication Workers of America, the union representing the newspaper. Millbank noted that “I don’t expect to gain much personally from rejoining the union faithful, because I’m in the top decile of American wage earners who have prospered in recent years. I signed up because income inequality, after years of worsening, has reached a crisis — and the decline in union membership is partly to blame. Rejoining the labor movement is my small, symbolic protest.” He went on to describe challenges unions face and how they can be a force for reducing inequality.
Also in The Washington Post, Lydia DePillis analyzed the decision by the Los Angeles City Council to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. She described the efforts of organizers and alternative models that might be followed by other campaigns similarly seeking a $15 minimum wage in other jurisdictions.
The New York Times published a story on how Jon Stewart developed a program to bring war veterans into the television industry. The program “offers the benefits of an internship — experience and connections — in a form that veterans working full-time jobs could accommodate. Each class of 24 meets once a week in the evening. The program ends with a career fair that has landed a handful of vets jobs in television.” Stewart encouraged other programs to offer similar opportunities.