This will be the very last edition of The War on Workers News. It's too much work for the one person who has been doing it on a volunteer basis and there are an abundance of sources online for you to hunt down the stories yourself. (The Donkey Drops site will continue as a political blog with an emphasis on labor issues.)
The NY Times, editorial
The profile of today’s angry working-class voter is someone who has found that tickets to middle-class life have run out because manufacturing jobs they once could live on have given way to low-paying service jobs.
Now, even many of these service jobs are disappearing. A recent report in The Times documented the decline of suburban malls as online shopping advances. The e-commerce share of total retail sales has doubled roughly every six years since 2004, reaching 8.3 percent at the end of 2016. One result is that employment at retail outlets has fallen. Department stores and other general merchandise stores, like supercenters and warehouse clubs, have been hit especially hard, shedding 89,000 jobs from November through March. Read the source story here.
It’s hard to know exactly what President Donald Trump has in mind for opening up the North American Free Trade Agreement, but it may be even harder to find industry and environmental groups or even members of Congress who want the 1994 deal left as is. Trump has continued to call for renegotiating the deal, although his administration has sent mixed signals of late that suggest some softening in that position. Read the source story here.
Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that prohibits local governments from requiring contractors working on public projects to use collective bargaining agreements. Republican supporters of the measure argue it gives non-union firms more opportunities to win public work. Read the source story here.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Nevada would become the eighth state in the U.S. requiring many private companies to give workers paid sick leave under a bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday. Businesses with 50 or more employees that have operated in the state for one year would be required to give workers at least 24 hours of sick paid sick leave annually. Read the source story here.
New and expecting mothers could get new protections in the workplace and in hospitals under a wide-ranging bill aiming to promote healthy outcomes for women and their infants. Senate Bill 5835 arrived to Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s office on Tuesday after it passed the state House of Representatives unanimously earlier this month. Read the source story here.
An Obama executive order mandating sick leave for federal contractor employees, once considered primed for reversal by the Trump administration, may be here to stay. The order requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave went into effect more than three months ago. Read the source story here.
Thousands of public employees held rallies throughout the state Wednesday to urge Washington lawmakers to approve new labor contracts for state workers. During the demonstrations, which organizers said took place at 150 workplaces including in Kennewick, employees stressed the importance of including money for the labor contracts. Read the source story here.
Thee state’s largest grower of peaches and other fruit bargained in bad faith with the United Farm Workers of America and wrongly tried to exclude as many as 1,500 employees from a collective bargaining agreement, a judge has ruled. The decision gives a strong boost to the UFW’s claim to represent as many as 6,500 workers at Gerawan. Read the source story here.
Greater emphasis on energy efficiency and on producing electricity from renewable sources would create thousands of jobs in Kentucky, reduce electricity bills and help improve the health of residents by cutting pollution, according to a report by a social-justice organization. Read the source story here.
Germany is known for its generous labor practices, including paid sick days. But to encourage workers not to use too many of these, Amazon has instituted a controversial policy that relies on peer pressure to encourage better employee attendance. The policy gives workers a bonus of between 6% and 10% of their monthly salary if they have used few paid sick days that month. Read the source story here.
The New York Times
In a quest to build Uber into the world’s dominant ride-hailing entity, Mr. Kalanick has openly disregarded many rules and norms, backing down only when caught or cornered. He has flouted transportation and safety regulations, bucked against entrenched competitors and capitalized on legal loopholes and gray areas to gain a business advantage. In the process, Mr. Kalanick has helped create a new transportation industry, with Uber spreading to more than 70 countries and gaining a valuation of nearly $70 billion, and its business continues to grow. Read the source story here.
Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post
Under their latest plan, there would no longer be a prohibition, however, against charging “high-risk” individuals more — so much more, in fact, that they would potentially be priced out of the market. We would go back to the pre-ACA situation in which serious illness could mean losing a home or filing for bankruptcy. This may satisfy GOP ideological imperatives, but it is atrocious policy, even if you put aside considerations such as compassion and community. Read the source story here.
The Trump administration has lifted its hiring freeze for the federal government. But the Environmental Protection Agency remains frozen, according to internal documents obtained by KUOW. The Trump administration has proposed cutting EPA’s budget by 31 percent, more than at any major federal agency, and scrapping 56 programs there, including funding for Puget Sound restoration. Read the source story here.
With environmental cleanup work expected to continue for decades, workers have completed replacing five miles of water lines. Most of the piping that was replaced dated from World War II, when Hanford workers were installing infrastructure to support the race to produce plutonium for the the atomic bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, to help end the war. Read the source story here.
Yahoo Finance News
The AFL-CIO will sue if the Department of Labor tries to water down a boost in overtime eligibility put in place by the Obama administration, the chief of the labor federation said in an interview. “Anything that dilutes it is bad,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said in his Washington office. Read the source story here.
Companies that commit wage theft and put their workers in harm’s way just received a favor from the Trump administration. President Donald Trump signed a bill Monday repealing a regulation that had encouraged federal contractors to follow labor laws. Under the Obama-era rule, companies with an egregious record of violating wage and safety laws would lose their government contracts. Read the source story here.
The Seattle Times
The city has given Teamsters Local 117 permission to begin trying to organize drivers, and companies must turn over drivers’ contact information to the group by April 3. That is, unless the court intervenes. Teamsters Local 117 is moving forward with its efforts to organize for-hire drivers, saying a union would give them the chance to collectively bargain on a company-by-company basis over issues such as better pay. Read the source story here.
The New York Times
President Trump, who has called the North American Free Trade Agreement “the worst trade deal” ever signed by the United States, appears to have backed off his threat to abandon the deal and is instead proposing keeping major planks in place when he begins renegotiating it later this year. Read the source story here.