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In the News

Articles on workplace-related issues from newspapers and Internet news sources around the country.

September 23, 2019

GM strike exposes anti-worker flaws in US labor laws. Companies have the upper hand.

Source: Kate Andrias, USA Today

U.S. labor law encourages firms to compete by busting unions and lowering wages. Workers need a collective voice to even hope for fair wages.

Santa Rosa to explore accelerating move to $15-an-hour minimum wage

Source: Will Schmitt, Press Democrat

Santa Rosa is poised to speed up increases to the local minimum wage, joining a statewide push to bolster pay for low- income workers that’s prompted some small businesses to ask for the city’s help to offset higher payroll costs.

Climate crisis to create 1.5 billion migrants by 2050

Source: MSNBC

Climate change took center stage all over the world this week with millions of people in more than 150 countries protesting the climate crisis. MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff joins Joy Reid on his co-reported story on how climate change is driving starving migrants to the U.S.

Congress promised teachers student loan forgiveness — but hired loan companies that made it impossible

Source: Ben Popken, NBC News

The Department of Education acknowledged Thursday that it could have done a better job of helping the tens of thousands of teachers and other public sector employees who were promised loan forgiveness under a government-funded program that ended up rejecting 99 percent of applicants.

NLRB reverses course on graduate students' right to organize as employees

Source: Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, The Washington Post

In a long-anticipated move, the National Labor Relations Board issued a rule Friday that denies teaching and research assistants at private universities legal protection to form unions, retreating from a 2016 decision that cleared the way for collective bargaining at some of the nation's elite schools.

House Votes To Ban Forced Arbitration

Source: Emily Peck, Huff Post

The U.S. House on Friday voted to ban forced arbitration, the increasingly controversial ? and common ? practice of forcing consumers and workers into secret courtrooms where they have no access to a jury and far more limited rights than in the public justice system.

September 20, 2019

Even In A Competitive Labor Market, Little Vacation For Workers

Source: Martha Gimbel, Forbes

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its data on access to workplace benefits in 2019. While there’s a lot of good news for workers here, employers still seem unwilling to offer paid vacation: 42% of workers had access to vacation days, no different than what it was two years ago.

Low-wage workers gather to build power across sectors in the South

Source: Rebekah Barber, Facing South

Over 120 low-wage workers convened in Durham, North Carolina, on Saturday, Sept. 14 for the Worker Power Summit hosted by NC Raise Up/Fight For $15.

Home care workers have a lousy job. A new bill in Congress aims to change that.

Source: Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox

Congress has a plan to make one of the toughest jobs in America a little less lousy.

House and Senate Democrats will introduce a bill Thursday to create career paths for home health aides, one of the most in-demand jobs in the US.

BMW Loses Its Only Female Board Member as Head of HR Steps Down

Source: Oliver Sachgau, Bloomberg Law

BMW AG said human resources head Milagros Caina-Andree, the only woman on the German carmaker’s management board, has stepped down for personal reasons.

Marquez Brothers to Pay $2 Million to Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Suit

Source: EEOC, EEOC

Marquez Brothers International, Inc. and its affiliates will pay $2 million and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC had charged the company refused to hire non-Hispanic applicants for unskilled positions.

September 19, 2019

Marquez Brothers to Pay $2 Million to Settle EEOC Race Discrimination Suit

Source: EEOC, EEOC

Marquez Brothers International, Inc. and its affiliates will pay $2 million and furnish other relief to settle a race discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employ­ment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today. The EEOC had charged the company refused to hire non-Hispanic applicants for unskilled positions.

Denver leaders propose citywide $15-an-hour minimum wage

Source: Andrew Kenney , The Denver Post

Denver is joining a national trend in considering raising its local minimum wage — the first city in Colorado to do so.

A proposal to be announced Thursday would raise minimum pay for workers in Denver to $15 an hour by 2021, according to Hancock administration spokesman Mike Strott.

Democracy Dies When Labor Unions Do

Source: Eric Levitz, New York Intelligencer

Ever since the United States mistook a Twitter-addled con man’s publicity stunt for a presidential campaign — and then elected him to our nation’s highest office — calls for rethinking America’s approach to democracy have been at the forefront of public debate.

Newsom signs bill rewriting California employment law, limiting use of independent contractors

Source: John Myers, Johana Bhuiyan, Margot Roosevelt, Los Angeles Times

California businesses will soon face new limits in their use of independent contractors under a closely watched proposal signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, a decision praised by organized labor but unlikely to quell a growing debate over the rules and nature of work in the 21st century economy.

Child care workers struggle to make ends meet

Source: Aleks Gilbert, Index Journal

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in South Carolina, the median wage for child care workers is $9.41 per hour, sandwiched between painters, sculptors and illustrators — $9.45 — and dining room and cafeteria attendants, $9.40.

September 18, 2019

Workplace Fairness joins other worker's rights organizations in commenting on the proposed CFPB Debt Collection Rule.

Source: Workplace Fairness

"The undersigned organizations advocate on behalf of working people and write to comment on the proposed debt collection rule. We urge you to improve the rule in order to better protect low-income workers.

Debt collection is very much an industry built on low wage working families. Studies have described working families often having delinquent debt causing financial and psychological stress “with the pressure of being repeatedly contacted by creditors seeking repayment.”

We urge the Bureau to consider the disproportionate impact debt collection has on struggling families when crafting this rule."

Walmart likely discriminated against female workers in stores, WSJ says

Source: Lauren Thomas, CBS News

A report from the Wall Street Journal finds Walmart has been discriminating against more than 150 female employees in its stores.

Unionizing Workers Just Accused Kickstarter of Retaliatory Firings in a Federal Complaint

Source: April Glaser, The Slate

On Monday night, the labor union working with employees at Kickstarter filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the crowdfunding company of wrongfully terminating two workers, Clarissa Redwine and Taylor Moore.

The gender pay gap will remain until companies change their ways

Source: Natasha Lamb and Jennifer Klein, CNN Business

The US Women's National Soccer Team has ignited a fire and jumpstarted a powerful new movement for gender pay equity worldwide. Fresh off earning their fourth world championship, the team has turned their attention to a fight at home: the fight for pay equity. And it's personal.

GM workers are on strike to accomplish what Trump couldn’t

Source: Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox

At a July 2017 rally in Youngstown, Ohio, President Donald Trump told his supporters not to sell their homes because the factory jobs are ‘‘coming back. They’re all coming back.’’

UPS to Pay $2.25 Million to Settle EEOC Pregnancy Discrimination Charge

Source: EEOC, EEOC

United Parcel Service, Inc., the world's largest package delivery company, will pay $2.25 million and clarify its pregnancy accommodation policies to resolve a pregnancy discrimination charge that was investigated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

These Uber and Lyft Drivers Can Tell You in Great Detail How They're Getting Screwed

Source: Hamilton Nolan, Splinter News

Thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers drove in a slow protest caravan in New York City today asking for stronger legal protections, just a week after California passed a bill that could reclassify those “independent contractor” drivers as real employees. An opportune time to hear from the more than 100 rideshare drivers who wrote to us about their working conditions!

September 17, 2019

Hilton hotels expands paid leave for new parents

Source: Kate Gibson, CBS News

Hilton is expanding paid parental leave for its workers, and the time off is the same for maids as it is for corporate executives.

‘There’s a war for people’: strong jobs market belies a shortage of skilled workers

Source: Dominic Rushe , The Guardian

An ageing population has left 83% of businesses fighting to find workers with the right skills, a problem that is slated to worsen

Business, worker groups split over pending increase in Missouri's minimum wage to $7.35 an hour

Source: Jo Mannies, Saint Louis Public Radio

As of January 1, Missouri’s state minimum wage will increase to $7.35 an hour – or 10 cents above the federal minimum wage.

And not everyone is pleased.

If restaurant servers get a minimum-wage hike, should you still tip 20 percent?

Source: Tim Carman, The Washington Post

U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, the first increase for those on the lowest rung of the U.S. workforce since 2009 .

A new Trump administration proposal could put asylum seekers out of a job

Source: Nicole Narea, Vox

Delaying work permits for asylum seekers would force them into the shadow economy.

Couple wins $11M racial discrimination lawsuit against MDOC

Source: Fox 2 Detroit

A judge ruled in favor of a couple who sued the Michigan Department of Corrections in an $11 million racial discrimination lawsuit.

Lisa Griffey worked as probation officer in Lapeer County while her husband was a deputy warden at a prison. After a six-week trial, testimony from 41 witnesses and 10 hours of deliberations, they're feeling vindicated.

September 16, 2019

Amazon's Whole Foods is cutting health benefits for part-time workers

Source: Brett Molina, CBS News

Whole Foods, the grocery chain owned by Amazon, plans to cut health benefits for its part-time workers.

According to Business Insider, the changes take effect Jan. 1 and would affect 2% of Whole Foods' workforce, or approximately 1,900 employees.

The assault on ‘contract employees’ isn’t about helping workers at all

Source: Post Editorial Board, New York Post

California’s new law aims to force the likes of Uber, Lyft and Postmates to classify workers as employees, not independent contractors. But the main force pushing for the law is organized labor, because these arrangements make unionizing difficult.

United Auto Workers Go on Strike at GM’s U.S. Factories

Source: Nora Naughton and Mike Colias, The Wallstreet Journal

Factory workers at General Motors Co. went on a nationwide strike early Monday morning in the United Auto Workers’ largest work stoppage in more than a decade, putting it among the biggest walkouts at a private-sector employer in years.

Google Settles With U.S. Over Workers’ Complaints It Stifled Dissent

Source: David McCabe, New York Times

Google said Thursday that it had reached a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board over complaints from multiple employees who say the company has stymied dissent, including one who has said he was fired for being an outspoken conservative.

California may soon push doctors and lawyers to confront their biases

Source: Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times

Doctors, nurses, lawyers and court workers in California may soon be asked to confront their prejudices under a trio of legislative proposals that are headed to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

September 13, 2019

New Lawsuit Against Uber Is Set to Test Its Classification of Workers

Source: Noam Scheiber, New York Times

Uber insisted on Wednesday that it may not have to reclassify its drivers as employees despite a newly passed California bill that would appear to require just that. Hours later, the ride-hailing company learned it would soon get a chance to test its argument in court.

Consumer groups, unions urge caution on $63 billion AbbVie deal for Allergan

Source: Diane Bartz, Reuters

About a dozen advocacy groups and unions, including Public Citizen and the American Federation of Teachers, wrote the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday urging it to consider blocking drugmaker AbbVie Inc’s (ABBV.N) planned $63 billion purchase of Botox maker Allergan Plc (AGN.N).

Days Before Planned Move, USDA Delays Relocation Date for Some Science Agency Employees

Source: Erich Wagner, Government Executive

Feds at two research agencies have begun receiving letters pushing back the report date to Kansas City, but that decision could imperil employees' $10,000 buyouts.

Interior to Offer Large Relocation Incentive to Employees Who Move Out West

Source: Eric Katz, Government Executive

The offer exceeds one recently provided by the Agriculture Department for a move to Kansas City.

U.S. Supreme Court will decide Michigan transgender woman’s employment discrimination case

Source: Stateside Staff, Michigan Radio

Bursch says that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to classify discrimination against a transgender person as sex discrimination sets it apart from the other federal circuit courts.

September 12, 2019

Gig workers’ win in California is a victory for workers everywhere

Source: Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox

Millions of people have been working without basic labor protections.

Workers Accuse Chipotle, the ‘Food With Integrity’ Company, of Abuses

Source: Michael Gold, New York Times

New York City filed suit against the fast-food company for violating the city’s Fair Workweek Law.

At Allentown rally, supporters of $15-an-hour minimum wage say they’re "tired of hearing excuses”

Source: Anthony Salamone, The Morning Call

“Any job that needs doing deserves a living wage. Period. If you don’t think a hamburger flipper is worth $15 an hour, don’t go out and eat hamburgers. Stay the heck home and make your own.”

How power dynamics in the workplace shield perpetrators of sexual harassment

Source: Olivia Aguilar, ABA Journal

We often associate the #MeToo movement with the entertainment industry, but sexual harassment is a widespread problem in all industries. The hierarchical nature of the workplace influences victims’ fear that reporting harassment will result in retaliation, and they do not feel protected by the very systems that are in place to protect them.

Big Labor’s Minimum-Wage Remorse

Source: The Editorial Board, The Wallstreet Journal

Big Labor has had big success getting politicians to raise the minimum wage, despite warnings that it could lead to more automation. Well, what do you know, now the Oregon AFL-CIO wants voters to limit self-checkout kiosks in grocery stores.

California Lawmakers Advance Bill To Redefine And Protect Gig Economy Workers

Source: Colin Dwyer, NPR

Lawmakers in California have advanced a bill aimed at ensuring minimum wage, workers' compensation and other benefits for contract workers in the gig economy.

September 11, 2019

Edgar Ndjatou Joins Workplace Fairness in Washington, D.C., to Lead Organization Activities

Source: Workplace Fairness

Workplace Fairness is pleased to announce that Edgar Ndjatou has joined the organization as Interim Program & Client Director, effective immediately. Ndjatou takes over from Senior Advisor Paula Brantner.

California approves bill that will turn gig workers into employees

Source: CBS News

California lawmakers have passed a bill that would provide new wage and benefit protections to workers at so-called gig economy companies like Uber and Lyft. Such app-based businesses, worth tens of billions of dollars, have vowed to fight the measure.

After fire, Philadelphia refinery paid executives $4,591,500 in bonuses while hundreds were laid off

Source: Andrew Maykuth, The Inquirer

Philadelphia Energy Solutions paid out about $4.6 million in retention bonuses to eight key executives after a devastating June fire closed the giant Schuylkill River refinery complex, but before the company declared bankruptcy, court records show.

The rich live longer and the wealth gap among older households is growing

Source: Tara Golshan, Vox

Bernie Sanders commissioned a federal study in 2016 that showed that poorer Americans die younger.

Fed Paper Suggests Climate Change Will Affect Retail Worker Pay

Source: Simon Kennedy, Bloomberg Law

Climate change may lead to large swings in the incomes of U.S. retail workers, according to a new study published by the Federal Reserve.

New York City sues Chipotle, alleging 'Fair Workweek' violations

Source: Rebecca Klar, The Hill

New York City officials are seeking more than $1 million in a lawsuit filed against Chipotle that alleges the fast food chain violated "nearly every aspect" of the city’s “Fair Workweek” law.

How a CDC Program Is Changing Behavior to Reduce Mine Worker Injuries

Source: John Kamensky , Government Executive

Thousands of miners are injured each year; scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sought to learn why, and then do something about it.

Hirschbach to pay $40,000 to settle EEOC lawsuit over pre-employment physical abilities test

Source: Matt Cole, CCJ Digital

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced recently it has settled a lawsuit with Hirschbach Motor Lines (No. 81, CCJ Top 250) stemming from a pre-employment physical ability test for truck drivers.

September 10, 2019

Unique Strengths Millennials and Boomers Bring to the Workplace

Source: Aja McClanahan, Yahoo Finance

Keep reading to see how baby boomers and millennials compare in the workplace — and find out what the major differences are.

Hundreds of Amazon employees plan to walk out of work in protest of Amazon’s environmental policies

Source: Shirin Ghaffary, Vox

Organizers want to see the company reduce its carbon footprint, cancel contracts with fossil fuel companies, and stop lobbying for politicians who deny climate change.

California gig worker law to be decided this week

Source: Mark Ralston, Market Place

All eyes are on California this week as lawmakers face a final vote on Assembly Bill 5. It would reclassify many gig workers as employees, opening the door to guaranteed benefits and protections like health care, workers’ compensation and the right to form a union.

For the first time, most new working-age hires in the U.S. are people of color

Source: Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam, The Washington Post

For the first time, most new hires of prime working age (25 to 54) are people of color, according to a Washington Post analysis of data the Labor Department began collecting in the 1970s. Minority hires overtook white hires last year.

Dozens of Google employees say they were retaliated against for reporting harassment

Source: Shirin Ghaffary, Vox

Nearly a year after Google’s #MeToo walkout, a previously unreported internal document details dozens of employees’ stories of harassment and retaliation for reporting workplace issues.

20,000 AT&T workers in the South went on strike—and won

Source: Carly Berlin, Scalawag Magazine

AT&T workers scored this win in a region that, generally speaking, proves a hostile place for labor organizing.

September 9, 2019

Workers need to be part of the conversation about UBI, says “Beaten Down, Worked Up” author Steve Greenhouse

Source: Eric Johnson, Vox

Proposals for a universal basic income, such as Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend,” may have dire consequences for blue-collar workers who just want a job, Greenhouse says.

Too many West Virginians suffering from wage theft

Source: Brian Stanley, Fayette Tribune

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy (in late July) released a report on wage theft in West Virginia. Wage theft can be defined in many ways. Some examples are minimum wage violations, overtime violations, illegal deductions, employee misclassification, and tipped minimum wage violations.

Examining the ‘Good Faith’ Requirement of Light-Duty Job Offers

Source: J. Andrew Recker and Anthony "T.J." Jagoditz, National Law Review

The “good faith” requirement of a light-duty offer was just examined by the 10th District Court of Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court with a somewhat surprising result. Light-duty job offers can be a good way for employers to minimize the payment of temporary total disability compensation and bring injured workers back to the workforce.

Nearly $1 million verdict in employment retaliation case affirmed

Source: Eric Bachman, National Law Review

A jury returned a verdict of almost $1 million to a former employee in New Jersey who was retaliated against and the state’s appellate court has now affirmed the verdict. Retaliation claims are the single most common type of complaint received by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

September 6, 2019

Sears reportedly closing more stores as hundreds lose jobs at HQ

Source: Kate Gibson, CBS News

The lights are still on at Sears, but the hedge fund now calling the shots is conducting some business at the ailing retailer largely in the dark.

Is The EEOC Protecting Workers Or Discriminatory Employers?

Source: Patricia Barnes, Forbes

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is tasked by the U.S. Congress with enforcing federal laws that prohibit workplace discrimination but a recent analysis of EEOC complaints from 1997 to 2018 demonstrates how little the EEOC actually does with respect to enforcing those laws.

Here’s Why Retaliation Claims Are Easier To Prove In Court Than Discrimination Claims: The FedEx Case

Source: Eric Bachman, Forbes

While these complementary protections serve a common purpose of helping to stamp out discrimination, an important distinction exists in how courts analyze retaliation versus discrimination claims. That is, different definitions of what constitutes an “adverse employment action” apply depending on whether the lawsuit alleges retaliation or discrimination.

Inflexible Employers Are Forcing Mothers Out of the Workforce

Source: Maurie Backman, Yahoo Finance

Many parents struggle to hold down jobs while also caring for children and maintaining home life responsibilities. But a new FlexJobs survey reveals a disturbing statistic: In an age where workplace flexibility is supposedly becoming more commonplace, 31% of women were forced to take a career break after having kids because their jobs were too inflexible.

A third of Americans don’t get paid vacation

Source: Dan Kopf, Quartz

The federal government does not require companies to provide any paid leave at all. Many employers have taken up the government on that offer.

The 5 Biggest Corporate Lies About Unions

Source: Robert Reich, Prospect

Don’t believe the lies. Today’s unions are growing, expanding, and boosting the wages and economic prospects of those who need them most.

September 5, 2019

Late Shift Workers Stuck With Few Transit Options

Source: Ed Garste

Public transportation for workers on so-called late shifts who don’t own a car or can’t grab a ride with someone is woefully inadequate, according to a study released Wednesday by the American Public Transportation Association, a global non-profit organization that represents the transit industry.

America’s Fastest Growing Jobs Pay About $24,000 Annually

Source: Alexandre Tanzi, Bloomberg Law

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment to grow 0.5% or by 8.4 million jobs to 169.4 million jobs from 2018 to 2028. This is slower than the 0.8% annual payrolls growth rate from 2008 to 2018.

Domestic Workers are Still Fighting for Basic Labor Rights

Source: The Takeaway

In 2019, most people would find working for an employer that did not provide, paid sick time, breaks for meals, overtime, and privacy and discrimination protections, unacceptable.

Unfortunately, that’s the reality for many of the millions of domestic workers in the country, that’s nannies, house cleaners, and care workers.

Are millennials saving labor unions? Membership increasing in Ithaca, nationally

Source: Matt Steecker, Ithica Journal

Younger workers at several local small businesses have tried to organized recently and the largest increase in union membership nationwide is by people under the age of 35.

The 33 Best Companies For Workers, By Industry

Source: Yusuf George, Forbes

Americans agree that companies should prioritize fair pay, benefits, a living wage, safety, equal opportunity, skills training, work-life balance, and more. Here are some of the concrete actions these companies – the Top 33 Companies for Workers by industry...

The problem with making “white” synonymous with “America’s working class”

Source: Carmen Rojas, Quartz at Work

When our media paints the working-class as different from the low-wage worker, we fail to see the ways in which both have been failed by political and business leaders.

September 4, 2019

Amazon’s Next-Day Delivery Has Brought Chaos And Carnage To America’s Streets — But The World’s Biggest Retailer Has A System To Escape The Blame

Source: Caroline O'Donovan and Ken Bensinger, Buzz Feed News

Deaths and devastating injuries. A litany of labor violations. Drivers forced to urinate in their vans. Here is how Amazon’s gigantic, decentralized, next-day delivery network brought chaos, exploitation, and danger to communities across America.

Happy Labor Day, Here's Another Way Employers Take Advantage of Their Workers

Source: Naomi LaChance, Splinter News

It’s Labor Day, which means it’s the perfect time for the Wall Street Journal to run a story about a way in which employers are scamming workers. The only problem is the Journal is pretending that the trick is a good way to “improve productivity” and “lower attrition.”

One Job Is Better Than Two

Source: Binyamin Appelbaum and Damon Winter, New York Times

Millions of Americans have full-time jobs that don’t pay enough to make ends meet. So they have to work a second job, too.

Why Is It OK for Employers to Constantly Surveil Workers?

Source: Gabrielle M. Rejouis, The Slate

The data privacy movement is focused on consumers—but workers need more protection, too.

Virginia Is Worst State for Workers' Rights

Source: Andrew Soergel, US News

States in the Northeast and on the West Coast have some of the strongest labor laws in the country, while those in the South lag behind, according to a state-by-state analysis of workers' rights published by anti-poverty group Oxfam America.

Letter Carriers Sue Postal Service Over Push to 'Radically Refashion' Their Jobs

Source: Erick Katz, Government Executive

A union representing 200,000 U.S. Postal Service employees is suing the mailing agency over an initiative to change the structure of their jobs, saying it is causing workers physical harm and is in violation of a negotiated contract.

September 3, 2019

Is Gender Bias Really Impacting The Hiring Of Women In STEM

Source: Dr. Pragya Agarwal, Forbes

A new study by a UBC psychologist, Toni Schmader, and researchers in France reveals that hiring committees who denied it is a problem were less likely to promote women.

Disabled workers chase 'dream jobs' in tight U.S. labor market

Source: Barbara Goldberg Reuters, Union Leader

Megan Helsel, a kayaking wildlife specialist, has her dream job, and T’angelo Magee is making headway toward his, a commercial pilot. Both say work is central to their identity. Both are disabled.

Labor Day celebrates workers — but not everyone's winning

Source: Aimee Picchi, The Daily Signal

Despite historically low unemployment around the U.S., millions of Americans aren't benefiting.

Your boss is going to start using AI to monitor you—and labor laws aren’t ready

Source: Jeffrey Hirsch, Fast Company

Our labor laws are weak enough as they are—and technology is constantly helping companies find ways around the ones that do exist to more closely monitor and analyze their workers.

September 1, 2019

From Mother Jones to Haymarket Affair, Illinois central to nation's labor movement

Source: Phil Luciano, Chicago Daily Herald

From organizing unions to effecting labor laws, Illinois has played a vital historical role as a flashpoint -- sometimes involving violence and danger -- for workplace fairness.

These are some of the key figures and events of that struggle.

August 30, 2019

Can a religious school fire a gay teacher? It's complicated.

Source: Julie Moreau, NBC News

Lynn Starkey worked at Roncalli High School in Indianapolis for nearly 40 years. In May, however, the Roman Catholic school fired Starkey as a guidance counselor after officials discovered that she is married to a woman.

Don’t be fooled by the Trump administration’s Labor Day pitch on overtime policy—it’s going to cost workers billions

Source: Heidi Shierholz, EPI

Soon, the Labor Department under the Trump administration will release its final rule on worker overtime. The rumor is that the administration may showcase the rule around Labor Day and claim they are taking steps to help workers. That means an important public service announcement is in order: do not be fooled! Workers would lose billions under this rule.

Can your boss make you come to work in the scorching heat?

Source: Dalvin Brown, CBS News

The summer of 2019 was one of the hottest and driest on record in parts of the U.S., exposing millions of workers to sweltering heat for extended periods of time.

Trump administration close to making more US workers eligible for overtime pay

Source: Brittany De Lea, Fox Business

The Labor Department is set to finish a rule expanding overtime pay as early as next month, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The administration is expected to raise the pay threshold that determines which workers are exempt from overtime.

August 29, 2019

Rising Temperatures are Creating Dangerous Conditions for Workers

Source: Andres O’Hara and Jeevika Verma, The Takeaway

The summer is on track to be one of the hottest on record, and the rising temperatures are affecting workers across industries like farming, construction, delivery, and even the military.

Heat takes down more UPS workers during hottest summer ever

Source: Lisa Riordan Seville and Adiel Kaplan, NBC News

Sixteen UPS employees told NBC News they've suffered heat illnesses so far this summer, highlighting hazards the delivery company's workers face in record heat.

Heat Stress Article Collection

Source: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Taylor and Francis

To protect workers this summer, the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (JOEH) has assembled articles for a Virtual Issue on the topic of Heat Stress.

As Labor Day Turns 125, Union Approval Near 50-Year High

Source: Jeffrey M. Jones, Gallup

Sixty-four percent of Americans approve of labor unions, surpassing 60% for the third consecutive year and up 16 percentage points from its 2009 low point. This comes 125 years after President Grover Cleveland signed a law establishing the Labor Day holiday after a period of labor unrest in the U.S.

Trump to nominate Antonin Scalia’s son to lead Labor Department

Source: Bob Fredericks, New York Post

President Trump confirmed Tuesday that he plans to nominate Eugene Scalia — son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia — to head up the Department of Labor.

August 28, 2019

Feds order Lockheed Martin to pay $325,000 in back wages

Source: Marco Santana, Orlando Sentinel

The U.S. Department of Labor ordered Lockheed Martin to pay more than $325,000 in back wages to 20 employees working in a Florida Panhandle plant after the agency said the defense giant had erroneously classified them as exempt from overtime pay.

How African-Americans Advance at Work — And What Organizations Can Do to Help

Source: Laura Morgan Roberts, Harvard Business Review

While many large companies have “inclusion” initiatives, most leaders still shy away from frank discussions about how the experiences of their black employees and executives — including their feelings of authenticity and potential for advancement — differ from those of their white peers.

47% of workers are thinking about quitting right now—here’s how long it could take them to find a new job

Source: Jennifer Liu, CNBC

Thinking about quitting your job? Even if you aren’t, there’s a decent chance the person working next to you might be.

Artificial Intelligence Further Exacerbates Inequality In Discrimination Lawsuits

Source: Patricia Barnes, Forbes

The legal system just keeps getting more and more unequal for American workers who are victims of employment discrimination, wage and hour theft, etc.

For undocumented workers, demanding better work conditions could mean deportation

Source: Monica Campbell, PRI

If you have this whole system set up in such a way that immigrant workers cannot speak freely about the problems because they are at risk of these types of enforcement actions or retaliation from their employers, that does not only damage them — that damages the other workers who are working under the same conditions

August 27, 2019

Rising Temperatures are Creating Dangerous Conditions for Workers

Source: Andres O’Hara and Jeevika Verma, The Takeaway

The summer is on track to be one of the hottest on record, and the rising temperatures are affecting workers across industries like farming, construction, delivery, and even the military.

Minneapolis Council wants to expand wage theft protections to gig workers, independent contractors

Source: Jessica Lee, Minn Post

As part of a wave of new initiatives to address labor conditions, a group of Minneapolis City Council members want to expand on the city’s new wage-theft law, establishing protections for a section of the workforce that current law doesn’t address: independent contractors.

Louisville Ford Motor Co. workers to vote on authorizing a strike for labor union

Source: Ben Tobin and Grace Schneider, Courier Journal

Ford Motor Co. workers in Louisville will be voting over the next couple of days on whether to authorize a strike as the United Auto Workers and Ford work to negotiate a new four-year labor contract before a September deadline.

Only a minority of people ages 50 to 62 work steadily in jobs with benefits

Source: Alicia H. Munnell, MarketWatch

People’s attachment is much weaker, retirement is more prevalent, and many jobs lack benefits...

Uber And Lyft Take A Lot More From Drivers Than They Say

Source: Dhruv Mehrotra and Aaron Gordon, Jalopnik

In July, an Uber driver we’ll call Dave—his name has been changed here to protect his identity—picked up a fare in a trendy neighborhood of a major U.S. metropolitan area. It was rush hour and surge pricing was in effect due to increased demand, meaning that Dave would be paid almost twice the regular fare.

August 26, 2019

US tech industry becomes hotbed for employee activism

Source: Samantha Maldonado, Associated Press

Amazon and Microsoft employees demanded the companies stop providing services to software company Palantir, which provides technology to federal agencies including Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Army.

AT&T workers strike in Southeast: More than 20,000 walk out

Source: Michael E. Kanell, ACJ

In a surprise move, more than 20,000 union workers for AT&T in the Southeast went out on strike as of midnight Friday, officials said.

CEOs are finally admitting to shortchanging society. It's about time

Source: Jeffrey Sachs, CNN Business

On Monday, 181 of the nation's leading CEOs issued a statement pledging that, above all else, corporations must have a commitment to all their stakeholders, including customers, workers, suppliers and the communities where they operate.

DOJ: Immigration facility shouldn’t have to pay minimum wage

Source: Gene Johnson, The Washington Post

The Trump administration is opposing Washington state’s effort to make a privately run, for-profit immigration detention center pay detainees minimum wage for the work they do.

The Trump Administration Asked The Supreme Court To Legalize Firing Workers Simply For Being Gay

Source: Dominic Holden, Buzz Feed News

The Trump administration took its hardest line yet to legalize anti-gay discrimination on Friday when it asked the Supreme Court to declare that federal law allows private companies to fire workers based only on their sexual orientation.

August 23, 2019

Bernie Sanders' plan to rebuild labor unions would be a huge win for working Americans

Source: Ryan Cooper, The Week

Bernie Sanders is riding to the rescue with a proposal for what would be the most sweeping pro-union program in the history of the United States.

The EEOC Asks the Supreme Court to Legalize Sex Discrimination

Source: Jon Hyman, Work Force

A ruling against the protection of sex-based stereotypes will not just legalize LGBTQ discrimination, but also a whole litany of discrimination against straight men and women.

USDA Reduces Buyouts For Workers Who Won’t Relocate

Source: Arthur Delaney, Huff Post

So many researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have refused to leave Washington that the agency now says it can’t afford the full buyouts it had offered them.

Boeing SC hit with charges it fired workers due to union support

Source: David Wren, The Post and Courier

A regional director for the National Labor Relations Board has ruled there is merit to claims Boeing Co. illegally fired five workers who support the International Association of Machinists union at the aerospace giant’s 787 Dreamliner campus in North Charleston.

August 22, 2019

Valuing Black Women’s Work

Source: Jocelyn Frye, Center For American Progress

Much of the current narrative about the U.S. economy, be it from politicians, pundits, or the press, touts its overall strength and low unemployment numbers as indicators that the economy is working well as a whole and—by extension—for everyone. But the story is not as clear-cut as the headlines would suggest. Looking beyond the numbers, it becomes clear that the benefits of the current economy are spread unevenly among workers, particularly for black women.

How unpaid internships hurt all workers and worsen income inequality

Source: Pavthra Mohan, Fast Company

Unpaid internships have long been criticized for favoring privileged students while others who face down a record-high $1.6 trillion in student loan debt are expected to work for free, essentially setting up income inequality before their careers even begin.

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