News & Commentary

November 18, 2015

Hannah Belitz

Hannah Belitz is a student at Harvard Law School.

The Service Employees International Union has voted to endorse Hillary Clinton, The Hill reports.  In an interview following the endorsement vote, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry stated that the SEIU feels “very confident about Hillary Clinton’s capacity to fight, win and deliver for working people.”  Although Senator Bernie Sanders has won the support of a few smaller unions, the major unions have backed Clinton.  According to the Los Angeles TimesClinton now has the support of unions representing approximately two-thirds of the nation’s unionized workers.

IKEA workers in Stoughton, MA are attempting to unionize.  The Boston Globe has covered their efforts, noting that workers picketed the store on Monday “in an effort to get the company to recognize them as a union.”  The workers want to join the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union, but IKEA has not yet responded to their request.  Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley have made public statements supporting the workers’ unionization efforts.

A Papa Johns’ franchisee will serve two months in jail for failing to pay his workers overtime.  Although 60 days is not a particularly long sentence, the Huffington Post notes that “any jail time at all is notable in a wage theft case.”  In addition to the jail sentence, the franchisee has also agreed to pay $230,000 in compensation to the workers.  Because the workers “were technically employed by the franchisee,” Papa John’s International Inc. was not a party to the settlement.

In international news, Afghani President Ashraf Ghani has instituted a new job program, entitled Jobs for Peace, in an attempt to prevent the departure of young Afghans to Europe.  The program also aims to restore some confidence in the struggling government and economy.  The New York Times explains that economic hardship, increasing insecurity, and a lack of hope about the future have led to a huge wave of migration: just this year, about 146,000 Afghanis migrated to Europe.

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