News & Commentary

November 27, 2017

The California Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling today in a lawsuit between Gerawan Farming and the United Farm Workers of America.  At issue in the case is a 2002 state law allowing the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board to order mediation for unions and farming companies to reach binding contracts, the Associated Press reports.  Two years ago, a state appeals court held in a 3-0 decision that the mediation and conciliation law was unconstitutional.  If the state’s highest court affirms, organized farm labor’s power in California would go down dramatically.

This week, Ivanka Trump is leading a U.S. delegation to southern India, where she will promote female entrepreneurship and economic power.  The Washington Post reports that the visit will highlight Trump’s silence around labor conditions for the predominantly female garment workforce in India that makes clothing for her fashion line.  “If Ivanka truly wants her legacy to include protecting working women,” said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum, “she needs to start with the women in her supply chain.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that New Hampshire is launching efforts to bring recovering opioid addicts into the workforce.  In doing so, Governor Chris Sununu is aiming to address two problems facing his state: extremely low unemployment (below 3 percent) and extremely high levels of opioid addiction.  “We want to re-instill that level of self worth that so many people in recovery have lost,” and, “we need those able-bodied working adults.  We need that workforce in the state,” said Governor Sununu.

In Minnesota, companies are investing in high schools to train students for the 21st-century workplace, taking corporate partnerships to a new level.  The Minnesota Star Tribune reports that a looming labor shortage—combined with Minnesota’s racial achievement gap—prompted the hands-on programming, which puts corporate resources and employees into curriculum planning and classroom teaching roles.

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