News & Commentary

September 2, 2016

Leora Smith

Leora Smith is a student at Harvard Law School.

Millions of public sector workers in India are on strike today, in an action that union leaders are calling the biggest strike in history. The Guardian reports that some of the protesters’ demands include “a 692-rupee daily minimum wage (Ed. note: approximately $10 USD), universal social security and a ban on foreign investment in the country’s railway, insurance and defence industries.” Though the numbers have not been verified, organizers say that 150 million workers are striking.

In honor of Labor Day, the Pulitzer Prize organization revisits the work of 2005 winner Connie Shulz and her column on tipping, “Here’s a little tip about gratuities.” Eleven years later wage theft continues to be rampant in the service industry which continues to grow – Salon reports that the “U.S. add[ed] 177,000 jobs in August – and all of them were in the service industry.”

Governor Chris Christie vetoed a minimum wage raise on Tuesday, but the fight in New Jersey will continue, with advocates hoping to make the minimum wage a ballot question in the future. The Atlantic reports that ballot measures are being increasingly used as a tactic in states where legislatures are unlikely to raise wages on their own. Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington are all sending the minimum wage question directly to voters at the ballot box. And, while Republican-led state governments have proven unfriendly to minimum wage legislation, the issue does not seem to break down along party lines. In Alaska, Arkansas and Nebraska voters given the chance to weigh in on wages have simultaneously voted for Republican representatives, while also marking “yes” to a higher minimum wage.


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