News & Commentary

October 21, 2015

Hannah Belitz

Hannah Belitz is a student at Harvard Law School.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Public Employment Relations Board, California’s labor oversight board, plans to file for an injunction to stop the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a large charter organization, from interfering with teacher unionization efforts.  United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) began a drive to organize Alliance teachers in March, and since then has filed four unfair practice claims against the charter organization.  It asked the Board to file the injunction, stating that it cannot wait for the resolution of those claims because Alliance’s actions — intimidating employees, preventing organizers from accessing school buildings, and blocking emails — have “resulted in a chilling effect on the employees’ responsiveness to unionization, which is threatening the effectiveness of organizing efforts.”

On Tuesday, Uber announced a plan to expand its business to cities like Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany, extolling the number of jobs it could bring to the area.  As the New York Times notes, this “legislative and public relations push,” coupled with similar efforts by Lyft, “suggest that ride-sharing could be at play in the next legislative session, which begins in January.”

According to Politico, in the next few days Fiat Chrysler workers will either approve or reject the tentative contract with UAW. The agreement promises to phase out the two-tier wage system, provide raises to entry-level workers, and deal with unpredictable scheduling.  Because the workers voted down the first contract, this second vote also serves as a “referendum” on the leadership of UAW President Dennis Williams.

At the Washington Post, Lydia DePillis describes how students have picked up the Fight For $15 movement for themselves.  Inspired by workers across the country speaking up for higher wages, students are now asking universities to raise the on-campus minimum wage.  Although the student campaigns are mainly independent of the union-backed Fight for $15 movement, they share the goal of earning enough money to cover their bills.  As Beth Huang, a coordinator for the Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), explained, “tuition, housing, textbooks are increasing in price while student wages have largely stayed stagnant.”

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