● Illinois state workers authorize strike against governor who invoked the legacy of PATCO.
● Yale graduate teaching assistants have voted to form a union:
Yale organizers took an unusual approach of having individual departments hold separate elections to speed up recognition by the university and build support for unionizing. Eight of the nine departments that held elections, including English, history and math, voted in favor of forming a union, while graduate teachers in the physics department voted against. There are a few uncounted ballots in the East Asian languages and political science departments that must be resolved by the NLRB.
● Jared Bernstein on why it's important to have a Labor Department that works for workers:
With the rise of franchises, subcontractors (often regular workers who’ve been misclassified), and outsourced tasks that used to [be] done in-house, the distance between worker and employer is ever more arms-length. David Weil, who ran the [Wage and Hour division] under Secretary Tom Perez, labels this evolving model the “fissured workplace,” and research shows that as it spreads, violation of wage and hour laws, if not downright wage theft (the division now has a Workers Owed Wages database of employers with such violations), become more common.
In response, WHD shifted more of its resources from passive (wait to hear about violations) toward proactive investigations focused on industries such as hotels, fast food, janitors, truckers and home health care. Weil told me that in the Obama years, the WHD “secured nearly $1.8 billion in back wages for more than 2.0 million workers in over 240,000 investigations.” That’s about three weeks of earnings for a low-wage worker. One study found that in 2008, one-quarter of their sample of low-wage workers in three large cities were paid less than the legally required minimum wage.
● It’s a first for billionaire casino mogul and Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson: some of his workers have unionized and have a contract after years of struggle. And the workers aren’t in heavily unionized Las Vegas—they’re in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
● Interviews for resistance: Protests show immigrants' economic power cannot be ignored.
● Charter schools often drive out the most challenging students to preserve higher test scores, but here’s a different twist:
Sunshine [a charter alternative school] takes in cast-offs from Olympia and other Orlando high schools in a mutually beneficial arrangement. Olympia keeps its graduation rate above 90 percent — and its rating an “A” under Florida’s all-important grading system for schools — partly by shipping its worst achievers to Sunshine. Sunshine collects enough school district money to cover costs and pay its management firm, Accelerated Learning Solutions (ALS), a more than $1.5 million-a-year “management fee,” 2015 financial records show — more than what the school spends on instruction.
But students lose out, a ProPublica investigation found. Once enrolled at Sunshine, hundreds of them exit quickly with no degree and limited prospects. The departures expose a practice in which officials in the nation’s tenth-largest school district have for years quietly funneled thousands of disadvantaged students — some say against their wishes — into alternative charter schools that allow them to disappear without counting as dropouts.
● AFSCME is suing to block Iowa's new Scott Walker-style law attacking public workers.
● Automation and working class displacement, or, why Erik Loomis thinks “the Trump election may be seen in the future as the first of the Automation Era.”
● New study: Michigan test score gains are lowest in the country. Hi there, Betsy DeVos!
● Workers Independent News:
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