Better Wages Are Better for Business, Too: The Working People Weekly List

Better Wages Are Better for Business, Too: The Working People Weekly List

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s the latest edition of the Working People Weekly List.

Florida A&M University Employees Go Public with Demands for Higher Wages: “The current contract for nearly 400 employees represented by AFSCME at Florida A&M University doesn’t expire until June 30, but union representatives aren’t waiting that long to make their stance known. The main focus is getting higher hourly wages for employees represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees within the union, such as groundskeepers, maintenance workers, support staff and secretaries. This week, several employees and supporters gathered at the northern entrance of campus to make it known some employees have not had raises in 10 years. Andre Crumity, the AFSCME Local 3343 president, calls the protest ‘symbolic’ as the union selected Feb. 1—the first day of Black History Month—to make their cause known beyond the confines of Florida’s only public historically Black university.”

Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Could Change Rural America’s Alliance With GOP: “Matt Biggs, president of the IFPTE, was adamant, like Hersh, about how significant an impact the infrastructure bill will have on both the country and the lives of his fellow members in his union. The IFPTE represents over 90,000 workers across the United States and Canada, including dam and lock operators like Arent. He said that jobs created by the bill and the infrastructure that will remain operational because of it will have a tremendous impact on the lives of the union members and other workers they collaborate with who live in rural America. ‘In this day and age, it’s nice to see a bill that will impact millions and millions of people for the better pass like this,’ Biggs told Newsweek. However, despite his happiness with the bill being passed, he feels frustrated with how the victory has been so quickly passed over as the news media has refocused on the failure to pass the Build Back Better Act, voting rights legislation and filibuster reform. Instead of celebrating the bill as a federal achievement, both parties and much of the nation’s media have moved toward the next legislative debate.”

GM Workers in Mexico Elect Independent Union, Pushing for Higher Wages: “The vote by several thousand workers was required under a Mexican labor reform that underpins a trade agreement with the United States and Canada, and was closely watched by the U.S. government. The AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor organization, celebrated the vote as a win for workers across the auto sector. ‘Workers will advocate for higher wages and improved health and safety standards… helping to set new standards in the automobile industry,’ AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement.”

Better Wages for Workers Are Better for Big Business, Too: “Even as working people push for changes that will allow them to simply take care of their families, small government ideologues continually push the old, tired trope that paying working people family-sustaining wages—known as prevailing wages—will harm the economy and squeeze small businesses out of big opportunities. This is simply not true. As a small contractor and an IBEW electrician, we know from experience that paying prevailing wages is a net positive—for contractors, working families, the economy, and local communities.”

Conditions at a General Motors Plant in Mexico Spur a Labor Challenge: “Mexico has transformed into an industrial powerhouse over the last two decades, attracting a torrent of investment from some of the world’s largest companies. And yet, a stubborn problem persists: Though the country has become one of the richest in Latin America, its workers still earn among the lowest salaries of almost any nation in the region. One important reason, economists say, is that for decades, Mexican workers have had little say in choosing the unions that represent them. ‘If you’ve got a race to the bottom, you’ve got to raise the bottom, and then maybe the race will slow down a little bit,’ said Jeff Hermanson, an official at the Solidarity Center, an arm of the AFL-CIO.”

U.S. Labor Board Official Seeks Swift Punishment for Anti-Union Threats: “The U.S. National Labor Relations Board’s top lawyer on Tuesday called on regional staff to more aggressively police employers who threaten workers during unionizing campaigns, and take them to court before they can fire pro-union workers. NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo in a memo to staff lawyers said seeking federal court orders barring interference with union organizing earlier in the process would deter businesses from retaliating against union supporters and discouraging unionization efforts.”

Historic Agreement: NWSLPA, NWSL Agree to CBA: “The NWSL Players Association announced Monday night that it had ratified its first Collective Bargaining Agreement in National Women’s Soccer League history. Subject to approval by the NWSL board of governors, players will report to preseason camp on Tuesday, the scheduled start of the preseason. ‘From our inception, the Players Association has put players first,’ NWSL president Tori Huster said in a statement. ‘Our mission in this historic CBA was to put this same philosophy at the center of NWSL’s future. With the amount of care and attention that we have given this process since Fall 2020, we are proud that players can confidently enter the tenth season of the NWSL in a better position than ever before.’”

AFL-CIO Endorses House Democrats’ China Competition Bill: “‘The AFL-CIO stands ready to fight for these priorities, to level the playing field against unfair trade practices and to improve opportunities for America’s hard-working families,’ William Samuel, the federation’s government affairs director, wrote in a letter to lawmakers Monday. ‘We urge you to support this legislation and fight for the enactment of its provisions into law.’”

Kenneth Quinnell
Mon, 02/07/2022 – 11:31

Updated: February 10, 2022 — 2:40 pm