OVERTIME: Labor Stories of the Week (Jan 15, 2016)

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Did you read nothing but Friedrichs news this week? Thankfully, we’ve gathered the top labor stories for you to catch up on during the weekend.

Blessed be the Union Busters? Although worker rights are a key principle of the Church’s social teaching, some Catholic colleges are resisting their faculty’s efforts to organize (new window) by claiming a religious exemption from federal labor law. Yet Catholic universities that do embrace the right to a union, such as Georgetown (new window) and Saint Mary’s (new window), say their decision comes down to Catholic values.

If you read one piece on Friedrichs, let it be this. Shaun Richman makes a brilliant case that the labor movement’s best hope for revival are strikes and direct action that align worker demands with the broader common good (new window). Writing for In These Times, he highlights three campaigns doing just that: Fight for 15, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, and Bargaining for the Common Good.

Bargaining for your health? When their quality time with patients was under the threat of being sacrificed in the altar of efficiency, a group of doctors resisted by unionizing (new window). According to the New York Times, they beat back efforts to outsource their positions and are currently negotiating their first contract with a focus on staffing levels and patient safety.

Chicago’s 1% Mayor. After shutting down dozens of Chicago schools and planning hundreds of teacher layoffs, Rahm Emanuel is trying to pay Wall Street banks even more (new window) for the city’s bad financial deals.

Going to the mat for students. Rather than the fair pay and benefits that they so deserve, teachers in St. Paul (new window) are contemplating going on strike to win restorative justice policies and adequate staffing levels, while educators in Detroit (new window) did a sickout to protest the disastrous state of public school buildings.

The under-the-radar profit-maximizing scheduling practice that can put workers in a downward spiral.  This Washington Post piece by Lydia DePillis reveals how workers in retail and other industries are squeezed and pitted against each other (new window) when employers give the busiest shifts to the most productive employees.

Grad students at private universities could soon have the right to unionize. Just when you thought the NLRB was running out of steam, the agency seems poised to extend collective bargaining rights (new window) to teaching and research assistants at private universities. It may even include undergraduate students and masters students in its decision.

This should have happened a long time ago. The U.S. House passed a bill to protect unpaid interns (new window) in the federal government from discrimination, and the U.S. Senate is likely to do the same. We are grateful that many of our students who intern in the public-sector will have common sense protection.

FRIDAY BONUS: Bob Dylan, sort of, delivers an unforgettable rendition of Drake’s smash hit “Hotline Bling” (new window)