Catch up on the week’s best labor stories in five minutes!
Birthing a Supah PAC! The stars are aligning for those who want labor to be more involved in electoral politics. The AFL-CIO, AFT, AFSCME, and SEIU are likely teaming up to create a Labor Super PAC.
“It’s not our problem,” says only institution with the leverage to do something. At Fordham, a request for proposals from new food service contractors to service the campus cafeteria puts the current workers’ hard-earned wages and benefits in jeopardy. A coalition of faculty, labor, and students are calling on the university to require the next contractor to embrace the terms of the existing collective bargaining agreement. They also call on Fordham to adopt just employment practices that match its mission and Catholic social teaching.
Supply chain woes. Cole Strangler of the International Business Times reports that Apple is failing to live up to its promise of improving working conditions across its global supply chain. At least one of Apple’s major suppliers in China has been systematically overworking employees, skirting overtime rules, and denying mandatory breaks in violation of Chinese labor laws – arguably a low bar to clear.
Overtime woes. The Obama administration’s proposed rules extending overtime benefits to employees that make less than $50,440 – the current threshold is a measly $23,660 – could have a major impact on higher education, where postdocs and other employees are often underpaid and overworked.
Pro tip: tipping is the worst. A Washington Post interview with Jay Porter, a businessman who abolished tipping at his restaurant, will tell you everything you need to know about how tipping harms waiters and waitresses.
Depressing long read. Lydia DePillis explains how the birthplace of the American labor movement, West Virginia, turned on unions by embracing ‘right to work.’ There are some lessons in there, if you can stomach the sadness.
Hedge Funds Have Sucked For a Decade. A satisfying takedown of hedge funds by Gawker.
In the spirit of the Lenten season. In his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis stressed that wealth and power must serve the common good. Citing the Biblical account of Naboth, a man unjustly put to death so that King Ahab might take possession of his property, Francis said:
This is not a story from other times. It is a story of today, as well, a story of the powerful who exploit the poor, who exploit the people for their own gain. It is the story of human trafficking, of slave labor, of poor people who work ‘under the table’ and for a pittance in order to enrich the powerful – it is the story of corrupt politicians who want more and more.
And, who watches the watchmen? In a story of little consequence but great irony, Politico‘s Morning Shift reports that:
The Federal Labor Relations Authority ruled earlier this month that the NLRB did not fulfill its duty to bargain with the National Labor Relations Board Union over the agency’s recent move to southeast Washington, D.C. The authority found that the board could have reached a reasonable agreement if only it “had the patience to persist beyond its arbitrary deadline” for the negotiations.
The decision requires the board to post a nationwide notice — signed by NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and General Counsel Richard Griffin — admitting that it violated the law. “A nationwide posting will emphasize to employees that the agency that enforces labor laws in the private sector must itself comply with labor laws in the public sector,” the decision said.