Weekend News & Commentary — April 16-17, 2016


Published April 17th, 2016 - 04.17.1629


Fight for $15 was a winner at the Democratic presidential debate on Thursday night.  As Politico reports, when asked about their support for a $15 minimum wage bill, both Democratic candidates indicated their support.  In a shift in Hillary Clinton’s platform, Clinton explained she would “set a national level of 12 and then urge any place that can go above it to go above it,” adding “[b]ut of course if we have a Democratic Congress, we will go to 15.”  Previously, Clinton supported $12 rather than $15 citing President Obama’s former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers for support.

According to the New York Times, producers and actors in the original cast of “Hamilton” have come to an agreement, providing a share for original cast members in the musical’s profits.  “Hamilton” makes about $500,000 a week in profits, and its profits will multiply as it begins its national and international tours.  “Hamilton” isn’t the first show to establish profit-sharing for original cast members; “The Book of Mormon” famously still pays its original cast regular checks, and other shows such as “Rent” and “Avenue Q” established similar schemes.  The president of Actors’ Equity emphasized the agreement’s significance in the broader discussion about how actors are compensated for contributions to developing shows.

Earlier this week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent a letter on behalf of eight states attorneys general to retailers they believe engage in “on-call scheduling,” requiring employees to be available during hours in which they are not getting paid to work.  According to the Huffington Post, letter recipients include American Eagle, Payless, Forever 21, Uniqlo, and Coach.  National Retail Federation explains, “Retailers need flexibility to adapt to changing conditions in a store, and they don’t need the government telling them how to do what they do best – run their businesses.”  On the other hand, Michael Wasser, senior policy analyst at advocacy group Jobs for Justice, argues on-call shifts “push the business risk onto the backs of their employees,” where “the employees have no chance at the rewards that come with that risk.”  You can read Schneiderman’s press release here.

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