Today’s News & Commentary – November 20, 2017
A federal judge has approved a $209 million settlement deal in a class action suit against the NCAA on behalf of student athletes. The approval partially resolves the case, which resulted from the 2014 consolidation of multiple lawsuits in the Northern District of California. The class action suit challenges the NCAA’s rules that prohibit each member university from paying student athletes more than the full cost of attendance. The parties came to a settlement agreement in early February, but had to deal with an objection by former University of Southern California linebacker Lamar Dawson, whose own suit based on state labor law claims would have been jeopardized. Consequently, the parties revised the settlement agreement, ensuring that some claims against the NCAA — including those of Dawson, those based on player likeness compensation, and those that seek injunctive relief — may not be released.
Some Instacart workers today will be continuing a strike initiated yesterday, in protest over low compensation. Instacart shoppers and drivers, who buy goods from groceries and deliver them to customers at their homes, are independent contractors, not employees. Consequently, they can occasionally receive wages below minimum wage. To insure against low pay, workers want Instacart to make tipping more prominent of an option for customers and to increase compensation for large and heavy orders. The workers participating in the strike organized via social media, meeting others through a 5,300 member-strong Facebook group where workers share their grievances. Few workers are participating however, and Instacart does not expect any service interruptions.
In Ontario, Canada, a more traditional strike has come to a close. Liberal and Conservative Members of Provincial Parliament (MPP’s), who serve as representatives in the province’s legislature, passed back-to-work legislation on Sunday to order 12,000 striking college teachers back to class. Students and faculty will be coming back to class today after the five week long strike, the longest college strike in Ontario history. New Democratic Party (NDP) MPP’s voted against the legislation. In response to criticism, party leader Andrea Horvath stated, “I do not believe in back-to-work legislation. New Democrats don’t believe in back-to-work legislation. It’s something we fundamentally think is a breach of people’s charter rights.” The provincial government has not yet come to a deal with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, the union behind the strike. Union president Warren “Smokey” Thomas expressed sympathy for the province’s decision to introduce back-to-work legislation. “If I was the premier and it was down to this particular juncture, I’d do what she’s doing,” Thomas stated. Seventy percent of college faculty in Ontario public colleges are part-time, reflecting the increasing reliance upon adjuncts and other non-tenured faculty in higher education. The province and the union will go to binding mediation and arbitration in the coming months.
A CNN report published last week documenting the sale of African migrants as slave labor in Libya has provoked widespread condemnation. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters gathered at the Libyan embassy in Paris to demonstrate against slavery. The chairman of the African Union Commission, Mouassa Faki Mahamat, urged the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to work with Libyan authorities on an investigation opened in response to CNN’s footage.