News & Commentary

December 29, 2013

The federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program expired this weekend, cutting 1.3 million Americans from support. The New York Times estimates that if benefits are not renewed on Congress’ return, “another estimated 1.9 million people who would otherwise have qualified for federal benefits will find that there is no federal program to turn to.” 

The New York Times covers a pending bankruptcy in Desert Hot Springs, California and the public sector pension cuts occurring in attempt to stave off the crisis. An Op-Ed in the L.A. Times discusses California’s fiscal woes and pension system in more detail.

The Department of Labor has been celebrating its centennial, in part by asking public officials to share books that have been important in the evolution of American work. Listen to the story on NPR, and follow the Books That Have Shaped Work In America project here

The New York Times reports on the seemingly anachronistic power of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees’ union, which has secured excellent wages and working conditions for the New York theater world’s stagehands.

 In November, a ballot measure in a small suburb of Seattle, SeaTac, raised minimum wage for certain workers to $15 an hour. The Washington Post reports that the measure has suffered some setbacks as local King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas recently ruled that the measure could not reach the nearby Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The decision, if upheld, could “mean the end of one of labor’s most promising experiments: Raising wages, city by city, through the power of popular will.”

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