Weekend News & Commentary — October 8-9, 2016
The Harvard University dining service workers’ strike continues. Students are rallying to the cause by joining the picket lines, buying food for the striking workers, setting up a fundraising page, writing op-eds, and more.
At the New York Times, Isabel Escolar argues for a “bill of rights” for housekeepers. After Escolar filed a wage theft lawsuit against an employer who refused to pay her earned wages, she “was shocked to learn how few rights [she] had under Illinois law.” Many federal labor laws do not cover domestic work, and although a handful of states have passed some form of a domestic workers’ bill of rights, most have not. That said, some efforts — including those of Escolar — have been successful: in August, Illinois became the seventh state to adopt a law to protect the rights of domestic workers. The six other states include Massachusetts, California, New York, Oregon, Hawaii, and Connecticut.
The Supreme Court of British Columbia has issued a judgment allowing three Eritrean workers to file a lawsuit against a Canadian company for alleged human rights abuses that took place in Eritrea. According to the Chicago Tribune, this is the first time that a Canadian court has recognized the ability of foreign claimants to file a lawsuit against a Canadian company for violations that took place overseas. The Canadian Centre for International Justice also notes that this “marks the first time that a mass tort claim for modern slavery will go forward in a Canadian court.”