News & Commentary

September 22, 2015

Scott Walker has suspended his presidential campaign, according to the Washington Post.  The decision came shortly after a CNN poll showed him earning less than one percent of the vote in the Republican primary.  Many have attributed his quick exit to poor performances in debates and television interview.  AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was quick to get a dig in, saying, “Scott Walker is still a disgrace, just no longer national.”  The Washington Post‘s Lydia DePillis wondered whether Walker’s overemphasis of his union busting–in addition to his poor performances–may have also hurt his candidacy.  DePillis pointed to rising national approval of unions, which recent polls suggest fully half of Republicans support.  While Walker’s union stance likely did not directly doom his candidacy, DePillis argued that Walker erred by putting too great a focus on an issue that had much less traction nationally than in Wisconsin.

Seattle public school teachers ended their nearly two-week strike after approving a contract with the school district on Sunday, according to the Seattle Times.  Although the teachers had already returned to class on Thursday, the vote ensured that teachers would remain on the job this week.  Union President Jonathan Knapp said the contract “changed the landscape of bargaining and called it “groundbreaking and far-reaching.”  Under the contract, the educators will receive a 9.5% salary increase over three years in addition to a two-year, 4.8% cost-of-living adjustment.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that some private bus drivers, whose work involves shuttling tech workers to and from their jobs in Silicon Valley, make less than the recommended standard-of-living wage for San Jose, forcing some to live in their cars.  The drivers, currently represented by the Teamsters, are in the midst of contract negotiations with their employer, Compass Transportation.  Several of the tech companies who contract with Compass have expressed support for raising the workers’ wages, even if it ultimately requires the companies to absorb the costs.  “It’s embarrassing that companies with the ability to pay this don’t understand the hardships that they are causing these drivers,” said Teamsters Vice President Rome Aloise.  “It seems to me a small price to pay to make sure a very valuable cargo gets to and from where they are supposed to be.”

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