Posts Tagged ‘unions’

folks who brought weekend-labor

Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans have been doing their best to take away unions. Now, they want to take away one of the things organized labor brought us: the weekend [ht: sm].*

Currently, the law in Wisconsin requires that workers employed in a “factory or mercantile establishment” must receive “at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in every 7 consecutive days.” If an employer would like a worker to work seven days in a row for a limited period of time, then the two can jointly petition the Department of Workforce Development for a waiver. . .

The new bill, which is being sponsored by Republican Van Wanggaard in the State Senate alongside Born in the Assembly, would add a provision to the “day of rest” law that could effectively nullify it. The bill would create an exemption that would allow employees to “voluntarily choose” to slave away for seven days in a row without at least twenty-four hours of rest.

As Marquette University law professor Paul Secunda explained,

the idea “completely ignores the power dynamic in the workplace, where workers often have a proverbial gun to the head.” Indeed, the reason Wisconsin had passed a “day of rest” law in the first place was because employers had been abusing employees by pressing them to work too many days without break. “Now this bill will force many workers to strike a bargain with the devil,” Secunda said.

*What I didn’t know before reading this article is that only thirteen states have laws mandating a day of rest for some or all workers.

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Union membership in the United States, which has fallen to its lowest level in the postwar period, may finally have bottomed out.

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Opinions of unions even seem to have recovered from lows reached in 2010 and 2011—while young people (18-29) especially have a positive (55 percent favorable versus 29 percent unfavorable) view of unions.

Now, the employees of Gawker Media [ht: sm] have voted by a substantial margin (80 to 27) to form a union, “a first for a prominent digital media outlet.”

the appeal of a union was clear to the employees, whose careers have been buffeted by instability and layoffs during the Great Recession and the unsettled economic recovery that has followed.

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www.usnews 

Thousands of protesters calling for a $15 minimum wage and a union are demonstrating today outside the McDonald’s headquarters near Chicago during the annual shareholders’ meeting.

About 5,000 McDonald’s employees from across the US chanted: “We work, we sweat, put $15 in our cheque” as they marched towards the burger giant’s headquarters holding banners reading “McDonald’s: $15 and Union Rights, Not Food Stamps.”

“We’re here to tell McDonald’s and its shareholders to invest in the company and its workers instead of wealthy hedge fund managers and executives,” said Kwanza Brooks, a McDonald’s worker and mother of three from Charlotte, North Carolina, who is paid $7.25 an hour. “We’re tired of relying on food stamps to feed our own families. We need $15 and the right to form a union and we need it now.”

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In 2012, Indiana became the twenty-third state to adopt a so-called Right to Work law. Now, in another blow to unions, it has eliminated its Common Construction Wage system.

A Republican-backed measure that will repeal Indiana’s law setting wages for state and local government construction projects has been approved by Gov. Mike Pence. Mr. Pence, a Republican, signed the legislation Wednesday and said it would allow the free market to determine pay rather than government boards. Supporters estimate that the change will reduce project costs by as much as 20 percent by allowing more contractors to pay wages below union scale. Opponents dispute such savings will occur and say it will open the door for low-paying out-of-state contractors. The repeal takes effect in July.