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Supermodel Anne Vyalitsyna
Models like Anne Vyalitsyna are workers, too.
New York has a new child labor law. Seriously, child labor. Until the new law, which limits the number of hours fashion models under 18 can work, models were not covered by child labor laws. The new law was heavily pushed by the Model Alliance, a group that, Elizabeth Cline wrote in The Nation, is:
[...] a nonprofit group trying to rein in the largely unregulated labor practices of the cavalier business of fashion modeling. The Model Alliance’s main objective is quite simple, and it just might be the group’s most difficult challenge: to give models a voice while educating the public to view them not as privileged preternatural beings, but as workers who have wage and health-and-safety needs like everyone else. “The modeling industry has a lot of problems, like any other industry,” Vyalitsyna told her audience of fellow models. “But the regulations are very important.”
Models face some of the same problems of perception as professional athletes—among them, that when you think of models you think of those at the top of the profession, not those struggling to break through. And like professional athletes, they typically have very short careers, complicated for models by the use of child labor.

Continue reading for more of the week's labor and education news.

A fair day's wage

Cab drivers in the nation’s capital are joining together with the Teamsters Union to announce the formation of the new Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association.
The Wild West is alive and well for some low-wage workers, but things are beginning to change thanks to a courageous group of farm workers in Washington State’s Yakima Valley. Juan Morfin, a foreman who farm workers alleged routinely cheated them out of wages by intimidating them with his gun, recently lost his Yakima Valley apple orchard job thanks to a class-action lawsuit filed by a farm worker, Sandra Saucedo, and a group of her co-workers.
Something to remember next time someone tells you unions used to serve a purpose but workplaces are more fair and civilized now.
Gail Rogers, Secretary-Treasurer of Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 1-S, which has over 3,500 members in New York City and nearby Westchester County, says she sees no reason to criticize Macy’s as long as the company honors its union contracts. “We received notice a couple of months ago, and Macy’s will be honoring our contract. Nobody is going to be forced to work if they prefer to celebrate the holiday, and the volunteers will all be getting time-and-a-half. Plenty of our members are willing... so there aren’t a lot of complaints,” she says.

So is this a tempest in a teapot? Rogers says that there is still one concern: While union workers are protected, non-union workers have no one to ensure Macy's keeps its word.

“My concern would be for the non-union workers” at Macy’s and its subsidiary Bloomingdales, Rogers says. “Without a good union contract, it’s easy to see how the voluntary nature of the work, and the premium pay, might fall by the wayside as time goes by.”


  • What do Michelle Rhee's organizations' tax returns tell us?
  • The future of education?
    Of the 84 lowest scores on the [Ohio] state assessment this year, 83 were for charter schools.

    Why has this happened? Because profit, not education, is the main concern of many charter schools. There are 27 organizations, and 25 of those are for-profit. One of those, with 17 schools, is run by an Islamic minister.

    We have a double standard. There are 200 state laws that apply to public schools and not to charter schools Qualifications of teachers are not checked as they are for public school teachers. Auditing of finances does not occur as often.

    (Via Diane Ravitch)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Oct 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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