OVERTIME: Labor Stories of the Week (Jan 8, 2016)

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Were you too busy catching up on work to keep up with happenings in the labor world? Fret not, we’ve gathered the best stories for you here. Don’t miss the two gems at the end.

Party like it’s 1999: the U.S. economy added a seasonally-adjusted 292,000 jobs (new window) in December, capping the best job creation in the last fifteen years.

New York Gov. Cuomo raises the minimum wage (new window) for public university employees in the state (including students) to $15 an hour, raising pay for 28,000 workers.

Not to be outdone, De Blasio (new window) announces that he will do the same for New York City employees and subcontractors.

Here is an important reminder that student employees from poor or working-class families benefit the most (new window) when universities adopt a living wage; that’s why it’s so important for them to be included!

The Washington Post dismissed (new window) Harold Meyerson, a columnist who offered a vital, labor-focused perspective to current events. You can still follow his work at the American Prospect (new window).

Mark your calendars: the Friedrichs Supreme Court case on public-sector collective bargaining will be argued on Monday, January 11. Read Steven Greenhouse’s take on how labor in Wisconsin plans to fight back (new window) in The Guardian.

Speaking of Friedrichs, the Economist previews the arguments that will be heard from both the plaintiff (new window) and the respondents (new window).

Lydia DePillis profiles Local Progress (new window), a CPD-staffed network of progressive elected officials from US cities who have linked up to champion progressive policies at the local level.

Many cities have a klatch of liberal legislators who push for higher minimum wages, paid leave mandates, taxes on plastic bags and the like. By putting them in contact with one another and other community groups, Local Progress has in recent years created a policy feedback loop that’s accelerated the spread of new laws in municipalities across the country. In the absence of federal action on many issues, it’s trying to make local government into something that doesn’t just pick up the trash — but solves some of society’s biggest problems as well.

Non-tenured faculty at Loyola University Chicago Want a Union. Will the Jesuit University Respect Their Demands? The Nation covers (new window) how the Administration has responded to the unionization drive among its adjuncts.

Baltimore plans to tear down thousand of vacant buildings to fight blight, but our Visiting Scholar John Russo expressed skepticism (new window), arguing that empty homes can house refugees and recovering addicts.

The NLRB agrees to consider giving graduate students at private universities (new window) the right to collective bargaining.

Bloomberg released findings (new window) that the NLRB’s accelerated union election process is helping unions prevail quicker and more frequently. This contradicts the NLRB’s own research, which found that the rule change had no discernible impacton election outcomes.

What disruption looks like: the largest cab company in SF just filed for bankruptcy (new window), citing the loss of both business and experienced drivers to Uber and Lyft.

Investigative juggernaut Reveal News uncovers widespread racial discrimination in staffing agencies (new window), particularly when employers ask for temp workers of a particular race.

Happy news: 2015 was the year that Wall Street got nothing (new window) from its wish list of financial deregulation. Read how its legislative lobbyists reacted: In retaliation, lobbyists for one bank scaled back a traditionally high-end holiday party they throw for members of Congress and key staffers, downgrading the culinary offerings to mini hot dogs and hamburgers.

Where religious liberty and worker rights meet: over 200 Muslim workers at a Kansas meatpacking and distribution plant walked off their jobs (new window) to protest workplace changes preventing them from praying throughout the day. Many were subsequently fired, and now CAIR is negotiating on their behalf.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis visited Italian rail workers (new window) to honor the hard and sometimes deadly work that built the railway system in Italy. He also hosted a holiday party (new window) for the employees of the Holy See and their families. Fun fact: lay employees of the Holy See bear the union seal (new window) (HT to Clayton Sinyai of the Catholic Labor Network (new window)).

Richard Trumka films a heart-to-heart (new window) with the white, working-class people who support Donald Trump.

The Atlantic deems the Working Families Party (new window) a liberal equivalent to the Tea Party that is reshaping Democratic politics and taking its fight nationwide.

The sudden but well-deserved fall of Rahm: a fascinating piece (new window) on why the progressive movement resents the current mayor of Chicago.

Gawker executives don’t mind its employees unionizing, as long as they don’t have to raise their wages (new window).

A federal bankruptcy judge ruled (new window) that a coal company can cancel hard-earned health and retiree benefits for its workers but also pay out $2 million in bonuses to 26 executives.

The New York Times uncovers a private tax system for the super rich (new window), designed to save them billions.

After 15 months of dead-end negotiations and recent health care cost increases and parking fee hikes by the administration, unionized adjunct faculty at Northeastern are planning to strike on January 19 (new window), and say tenured faculty agree not to cross the picket line.

Saqib from the Refund America Project and Elizabeth Parisian from AFT argue before an Illinois House panel that hedge fund investments are bad (new window) for the state’s public pensions.

The feel-good story of the week from NPR: after being unjustly fired, a group of Guatemalan temp workers organized, won their jobs back,and unionized (new window) with the UFCW as employees of both the temp agency and the tire company where they worked. This was made possible by the NLRB’s new joint employer standard.

And your Friday bonus: Stephen Colbert discusses systemic injustice against minority populations and working-class people with rapper and activist Killer Mike (new window), who famously endorsed Bernie Sanders for President.