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In November, 66 percent of Albuquerque voters passed a measure to raise the minimum wage to $8.50, tie it to inflation, and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers as well. Within a week, the city council had started thinking about repealing the measure. Well, it's still in effect. But the city isn't enforcing the minimum wage law.
[T]he requirements of the ordinance “may also be enforced by the City Attorney.”

City attorney, David Tourek says he’s not enforcing it saying, “without the necessary authorization and necessary resources being provided by Council, the City Attorney's Office will not be initiating civil lawsuits."

Labor attorney Dan Faber says it’s up to individual workers being shortchanged to sue their employer.

Fantastic. That'll help.

Cases like this are why we need to tell Congress to pass President Obama's proposed increase to the minimum wage.

And more:

  • Hotel workers fired by the Hyatt Regency Baltimore for their union activism are back on the job after a settlement. And speaking of back on the job, workers at HealthBridge nursing homes will supposedly be back on the job on March 3 after HealthBridge dragged its heels all the way to the Supreme Court—twice!—to avoid an injunction ordering the company to reinstate the workers.
  • Curious about the real-life labor story that may have been behind the famous invocation against falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater? Corey Robin has it.
  • While CNN focused on passengers on that Carnival cruise ship, Josh Eidelson reminds us that the cruise ship's workers certainly had it far worse. In fact, their treatment on working ships is appalling:
    The international law governing cruise workers allows them to be worked up to 77 hours a week for as little as $600 a month. As Klein notes, that comes to less than $2 an hour. But in reality, he said, “a worker who’s slated as supposedly working 11 hours is very likely working 13 or 14,” and may go “10 or 12 months without a day off.”

    Isn’t that illegal? Sort of. Because Carnival and other top cruise lines operating in the U.S. fly the flags of other countries, they aren’t bound by most American labor laws (there are exceptions, including workplace injury cases). And while international convention sets bare minimums like the $600 per month wage, Klein says, “the enforcement of them depends on the country that regulates the ship.” Klein added that Carnival, the industry leader, is also “the leader in knowing how to keep your costs of worker treatment to a minimum.”

  • Argument against earned sick leave ordinance = every argument against every worker protection since the dawn of time.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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