News & Commentary

July 13, 2014

The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 120 striking truck drivers at the Los Angeles port have agreed to a five day cooling off period. They agreed to return to work on Monday provided that the three companies accused of widespread workplace violations, Total Transportation Services Inc., Green Fleet Systems and Pacific 9 Transportation, not retaliate against them. The truck drivers argue that they’ve been improperly classified as independent contractors.

The New York Times features a piece on New York City’s liberal Book Culture book stores retaliating against their union employees, who voted to joined the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Workers Union on June 24th. RWDSU has dropped its charged before the NLRB following reinstatement of four fired employees and a strike.

The Sunday Gazette Mail features an article on the Federal and West Virginia’s tipped minimum wage. Under current legislation, West Virginia’s tipped workers will see an increase from $2.13 now, to $2.40 in 2015, and $2.63 in 2016. The Federal Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2014, also known as the Harkin-Miller bill, would increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour and set the tipped minimum wage at 70 percent of the hourly minimum.

Newsday reports that negotiations are set to begin again tomorrow between the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) labor coalition and the Metropolitan Transit Authority. If the groups cannot reach an agreement, LIRR employees are scheduled to strike starting July 20th. In commentary, the New York Post accuses Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky transit unions of “carpet bagging,” by coming to Long Island and encouraging Long Island Rail Road workers to strike.

According to CBS Philly, Bob McDevitt of UNITE HERE! Local 54 has asked for New Jersey politicians to step in after Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza casino has announced that it will be closing in September 2014. Trump Plaza issued WARN Act notices to its 1,009 employees, according to USA Today.

In international news, The Daily Star reports that Qatar is blaming outside contractors for the controversy surrounding migrants’ rights in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup. A report commissioned by the Qatar Foundation, which is chaired by the emir’s mother, charges that Qatar’s migrant workers’ rights begin to be abused the moment they are recruited by third party contractors in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, India and the Philippines.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa (NUMSA) announced today that their two week long strike would continue. Around 200,000 workers are currently on strike, demanding increased wages. The article’s author attributes earlier strikes this year of platinum workers to a contraction of South Africa’s economic growth and warns that this strike could negatively impact South Africa’s economy. Al Jazeera reports that the NUMSA has rejected a deal that would raise wages by 10 percent in 2015, 9.5 percent in 2016, and 9 percent in 2017.

In commentary, Prof. Benjamin Sachs discusses Harris v. Quiin in Dissent Magazine‘s “Belabored” Podcast.

George Will discusses the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn ruling in the Columbian. He characterizes union fair share agreements as “government coercion used to conscript unwilling citizens into funding the progressives’ party.” He calls the ruling, “real campaign finance reform.”

In the New York Times, author Sonia Nazario argues for a response to the influx of child migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border that treats the children as refugees of the ongoing drug war in Central America.

In the Oregonian, guest columnist Chris Morgan argues that Seattle’s minimum wage increase is bad for millennials. He argues that higher wages will disincentivize millennials from getting college educations only to find a glut in available jobs as the labor market contracts.

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.