Every week, we'll be bringing you a roundup of the important news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here's this week's Working People Weekly List:
Gazette Editorial: ‘Right to Work’ Dangerous for WV: "The AFL-CIO is right to point out that states that enacted 'right to work' laws have suffered. The most worrisome correlation is workplace deaths, which are 54 percent higher in 'right to work' states. But there are other concerns. Federal Bureau of Labor statistics show that seven of the 10 states with the highest unemployment are 'right to work.' Employee earnings are $6,000 a year lower in 'right to work' states. Some of the difference can be accounted for in a lower cost of living, but not most of it."
Why Do Americans Work So Much?: "In a new paper, Friedman tries to figure out why that increased productivity has not translated into increased leisure time. Perhaps people just never feel materially satisfied, always wanting more money for the next new thing. 'This argument is, at best, far from sufficient,' he writes. If that were the case, why did the duration of the workweek decline in the first place?"
Labor Prospect: What to Watch in 2016: "Seemingly everyone has an opinion on the rise of the on-demand economy—from economists to unions to presidential candidates. There’s endless disagreement over how big it actually is, how good it is for the economy and how bad it is for workers. Among liberals, though, there’s a growing consensus that there needs to be some sort of regulatory solution that gives on-demand workers a safety net."
New Year, New Wages: "Those fighting for a higher minimum wage have cause to celebrate, as the start of 2016 means laws raising the minimum wage go into effect in 12 states. Additionally, the minimum wage in Maryland and D.C., will go up in July, and inflation adjustments will be made to raise the minimum wage in Colorado and South Dakota as well. A handful of cities and counties, including New York, will also see minimum wage increases."
The Economy Adds 292,000 Jobs in December and Unemployment Remains Unchanged at 5%: "The U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs in December and unemployment was 5%, remaining unchanged from the previous month, according to figures released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This continues the record string of months with job growth."
International Food Workers Show Solidarity with Chicago Nabisco Workers: "The International Union of Food Workers (IUF) and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) have affirmed their solidarity with employees of Mondelēz International, the maker of Nabisco products, around the world. The state of Illinois has given Nabisco/Mondelēz millions of dollars in public assistance and tax breaks. BCTGM represents some 4,000 Mondelēz workers. The company has asked for massive concessions from employees that BCTGM says would amount to lost wages and benefits of $22–$29 per hour, per employee, and would lead to hundreds of lost jobs. In July, the company moved hundreds of jobs from Chicago to Mexico, jobs that were mostly held by African American and Latino workers before the move. They are represented by BCTGM Local 300 in Chicago. Most of them are also over the age of 40, a surprisingly disproportionate targeting of experienced and valuable employees."
Labor's Winter of Discontent in Kentucky? Maybe Not: "Despite the departure of four of their own, Kentucky House Democrats should be able to keep the Republican 'right to work' wolf away from organized labor’s door. Prevailing wage repeal, another long-cherished Republican goal, also faces an unlikely future in the South's only Democratic-majority legislative chamber."
Obama Administration’s Crackdown on Immigrants Ignores Due Process and Creates Communities Filled with Fear: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s large-scale deportations."
How to Tell TPP Is a Bad Deal: "How do you tell if the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a good deal or a bad one?"
What's This Friedrichs Case Really About?: "Confused about Friedrichs? It's pretty simple. See more after the jump."
Trumka: 'We Deserve Better' Than Donald Trump's Racism: "As Donald Trump maintains a high standing in Republican primary polls, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka had to speak out about the reality TV star's negative campaign that includes racism, attacks on workers and attempts to divide Americans and treat them differently because of their religion. In Trumka's words, 'We deserve better.'"