News & Commentary

September 25, 2014

As the national debate continues over raising the minimum wage in the fast food, retail, and hotel industries, a new poll suggests that a majority of hiring managers believe that the minimum wage should be higher than the current figure, according to Forbes. Managers who work in industries with a high rate of minimum wage employees were the most supportive of raising the rate. Several Republicans, especially in battleground states, have also expressed support for raising the minimum wage, NPR reports.

The German union Verdi is attempting to organize employees at Amazon, the Wall Street Journal reports. The internet retail giant has been unresponsive so far. “From my point of view, Verdi and Amazon don’t go together,” said Robert Marhan, General Manager for an Amazon warehouse in Bad Hersfeld, Germany. Amazon employees in five job sites went on strike earlier this week, but the strike has ended without the company agreeing to wage talks. Verdi has applied the term “Wild West” to refer to Amazon business practices, a disparaging expression in Germany to describe the U.S. corporate model.

In Venezuela, workers at one of the country’s nationalized steel plants are on strike, accusing President Nicolás Maduro’s administration of delaying contract renewals and paying low wages. The Wall Street Journal reports that the government has responded to union protests with military troops, while clashes between government-sponsored unions and independent unions have resulted in violence.

Hotel Bauen, an Argentine hotel run by a worker cooperative that took over management during the country’s financial crisis, is facing a new challenge. A judge recently ruled that the 130 worker-owners must return the building to the original owners, the New York Times reports. Hotel Bauen is symbolically and practically important to the country’s worker cooperative movement: the hotel has iconic status and also serves as a meeting place for members from other national and international cooperatives. Workers initially received temporary expropriation authority, but efforts to pass national legislation for permanent expropriation have failed.

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