Today’s News & Commentary — September 30, 2019
Senator Bernie Sanders will unveil later today a new tax plan as a part of his presidential campaign platform. The tax plan is set to increase taxes on corporations that pay their CEOs far more than their workers. Companies in which its highest-paid employee earns 50x that of its average worker will be taxed at a higher corporate tax rate. The tax penalty would start at 0.5 percentage points and increase gradually. This proposal is an attempt to incentivize companies to distribute its profits more equitably across the employee base. Critics of this plan argue that it would decrease the quality of management that companies are willing to hire. The plan does not yet address a potential loophole in which CEOs may be hired as contractors rather than employees.
The Oregon public university system and a union representing 4,500 of its employees reached a settlement Saturday morning. The settlement averted a strike that would have otherwise begun today and delayed the first day of classes. These university employees are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and hold positions ranging from academic to administrative positions. The contract settlement included a cost-of-living adjustment of 3%, stable health care costs and a 48-hour leave bank available during campus shut-downs due to inclement weather.
The Duquesne Light Company union workers in Pittsburgh are preparing to strike if a fair contract agreement is not met later today. The union is seeking favorable terms regarding wages, pensions, vacations and health care benefits. One specific demand is for the company to enlist the work of fewer contractors and more unions members. Negotiations are being advanced by a federal mediator.
Poultry workers and other food industry allies organize against ICE raids. Union workers with UFCW and solidarity organizations distribute flyers, publish toolkits and hold know-your-rights workshops in their communities to better educate workers. Such mobilization is in direct response to the growing number of ICE raids targeting the food industry and particularly, in response to the country’s largest workplace raid in which 680 chicken-processing workers were detained last month in Mississippi.