Today’s News & Commentary — October 25, 2016

Published October 25th, 2016 -  - 10.25.16


After a 20-day strike, Harvard University and the union representing its dining services workers have reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year contract.  The strike has attracted considerable campus, local, and national attention to difficulties faced by low-wage workers facing seasonal unemployment and untenable health-care costs.  According to The Harvard Crimson, to be ratified by workers the tentative agreement “must first be sent to a 30-member bargaining subcommittee Tuesday” before “the full membership of dining workers in the union vote on the deal Wednesday.”  UNITE HERE Local 26 President Brian Lang told The Crimson that workers could return to work as early as Thursday, but declined to provide details about the agreement but said it “accomplished all of our goals.”  In an email to the community, Harvard Executive Vice President Katie Lapp said said the new contract “represents a fair and reasonable resolution to negotiations” and addresses the core issues of wages and health care.  More from The Boston Globe.

The Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations almost doubling the salary threshold below which workers must receive time-and-a-half will take effect December 1st, and commentators are already hypothesizing how employers may respond to their new responsibilities.  In commentary in Time, Professor Daniel Hammermesh of the Royal Holloway University of London argues that employers “will cut weekly hours of previously exempt workers who had been working more than 40 hours per week, but that cut will be small enough so that those workers’ weekly earnings will increase” and thus “employees will work less but make more.”

At least one major union head isn’t happy with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was elected on a platform of supporting organized labor.  The New York Daily News published an op-ed authored by John Samuelsen, president of the 39,000-member Transport Workers Union Local 100, criticizing Mayor de Blasio for his record on organized labor since taking office.

Professional basketball players are reportedly close to an agreement with the National Basketball Association that will run through 2024.  Yahoo Sports reports that “the league and its players’ association are trying to put the finishing touches on a new collective bargaining agreement that would run through the 2023-24 season, with the possibility of an opt-out after the prior season” and that a new agreement would take effect in 2017.  According to ESPN, “NBA commissioner Adam Silver clarified that while both sides are closer, a deal has not yet been reached.”

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