As with most of the ABC's efforts, it's important to understand that these are low-road contractors. Many contractors, not just unions, value the prevailing wage and other ways of setting high standards in the construction industry. For instance, Mark Breslin, CEO of United Contractors, wrote an op-ed in the Modesto Bee this week supporting SB 7, a bill that would give charter cities the choice of paying prevailing wage and getting state funds or not paying prevailing wage and losing state funds for construction projects:
Prevailing wage laws were first passed in California decades ago in order to ensure a fair platform for compensation, competition, quality, and development of skilled workforces. Though most Charter Cities and all General Law Cities in California pay prevailing wages on local construction projects, some Charter Cities have exempted prevailing wages in a shortsighted effort to save money, but the true costs outweigh any perceived benefit.Defenders of the prevailing wage have been doing a good job fighting off city by city attacks, but ABC is relentless, bringing up and helping to fund the same charters in city after city. That's why it's so important for the state of California to say no, state money will not be used in the race to the bottom.
Further, out-of-state lobby groups have recently mounted an effort—city by city—to encourage local leaders and politicians to place charters on the ballot in order to eliminate prevailing wage. They promise savings of as much as 30 percent on projects. The lobbyists making these arguments either don't know what they are talking about, or they are being deliberately misleading. [...]
Cities that eliminate these good jobs and replace them with low paying jobs with no benefits may incur other costs that might not be obvious at first. Research shows that lower wage standards on local projects are likely to shift costs to the public by shifting the burden of healthcare from the employer to the taxpayer.
Continue reading for more of the week's labor and education news.
A fair day's wage
- Sounds about right:
In the wake of a report that ESPN bowed out of a joint investigative project with PBS on NFL player concussions, the union representing players said it was a "disappointing day for journalism" if the sports network caved on the series out of business concerns.
- This is so exciting:
SUNY Downstate, the operator of Long Island College Hospital (LICH), has been trying to close the hospital since February, even though the local community relies upon it for emergency care. But now, less than a week after Judge Johnny Lee Baynes of the New York Supreme Court ruled that must restore services to their July 19 level, Judge Carolyn Demarest has vacated her May 2011 order that approved the transfer of LICH's assets to SUNY in the first place. SUNY, according to Demarest, was not truly committed to operating the hospital and did not hold up its end of the bargain.The fight to save LICH is definitely not over, and it's not the only endangered hospital in New York City, as Sarah Jaffe reminds us in the same piece. But this is a big win.
- People are really awful to waiters. Seriously, in what world could you possibly think any of these things are okay? (In the absence, of, say, the waiter saying racist things to you, or you catching the waiter spitting in your food before you made your non-tipping policies clear.)
- Annals of wage theft:
Emeritus Senior Living, the country’s largest assisted living company, has agreed to pay up to $2.2 million to settle claims that it routinely underpaid workers at dozens of its California facilities.
Hands-on workers at Emeritus facilities – the non-salaried aides and support staff who statewide help care for hundreds of often frail seniors – alleged in a lawsuit that the company had not only shortchanged them in their pay, but also violated state laws concerning mandated meal times and rest periods. Workers were denied overtime and not properly compensated for days during which they underwent training sessions, according to the lawsuit.
- Gee, thanks, Rahm:
- Perez backs unions in California pension fight:
Perez sent a letter that did not come to light until last week, when the Sacramento Bee newspaper obtained a copy of it. In it, he gave the state until this past Friday to exempt the workers from a September 2012 law or risk losing billions in federal transportation funds, including $1.5 billion this year. The unions and the state were holding negotiations Monday.
In his letter, Perez said the reform “diminishes both the substantive rights of transit employees under current collective bargaining agreements and narrows the future scope of collective bargaining over pensions.”
- Hospitals are trying to squeeze more and more out of their workers, but here's why nurse staffing levels are so important for patients as well as nurses:
Pioneering work done by Linda H. Aiken at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 showed that each extra patient a nurse had above an established nurse-patient ratio made it 7 percent more likely that one of the patients would die. She found that 20,000 people died a year because they were in hospitals with overworked nurses.It's like class size or any number of other things: The limits that make it possible for a nurse or teacher or other worker to do her job also benefit the patients or students or other people helped by the work.
Research also shows that when floors are adequately staffed with bedside nurses, the number of patients injured by falls declines. Staff increases lead to decreases in hospital-acquired infections, which kill 100,000 patients every year.
- Scapegoating BART workers is ridiculous and obnoxious and offensive and totally predictable.
- T-Mobile workers speak out.
- Further concerns about President Obama's college rankings plan.
- Fraud and tax indictments for the founder and accountant of the PA Cyber Charter School.
- Americans like teachers, oppose using standardized tests to evaluate teachers.