Lawmakers are saying “screw the will of the voters” in response to ballot votes to raise the minimum wage in several places across the country, Josh Eidelson reports:
Voters took to the polls in November and approved big hikes in four states’ minimum wages: Washington State, Colorado, Maine and Arizona.
But the increases may not actually take effect as voters intended because elected representatives -- mostly Republicans -- are moving to rein them in. In Washington, where voters opted for a $13.50 an hour minimum wage by 2020, and Maine, where it was set to rise to $12 that year, state legislators have proposed a battery of bills to water down the increases. The city council in Flagstaff, Arizona has done the same to a local initiative that would have boosted the wage floor to $12 this year, sooner than the statewide increase.
The news is better in Maryland, where both the state House and Senate have passed a paid sick leave bill with veto-proof majorities:
The bill passed by the General Assembly requires employers with 15 or more workers to provide five days of paid sick leave. It does not offer tax incentives to help offset the cost.
The House agreed to accept a change in the legislation made in the Senate that cut the number of sick days per year that employers must offer from seven to five.
That would make eight states with paid sick leave laws, all of them coming since Connecticut kicked it off in 2011.
● Retail union will tout membership value to neutralize Trump threat.
● Nestle workers have voted to unionize ... in Georgia.
● Charge time: Electric car workers accuse Tesla of low pay and intimidation.
● Jeanie Koval, a 56-year-old steelworker, describes her job and the importance of her union:
The union means everything to us. The union negotiates our wages and our benefits, and our benefits package is huge. Our package for our benefits is probably the same as it is for our wages. So we have medical insurance, sickness and accident pay, prescription benefits, vacation pay, retirement benefits. All of that stuff is negotiated with the company through the union. We have job protection and a safety team that’s also negotiated in our contract. Safety is big. It’s very important. Last year I think we had the least amount of lost work days as we’ve ever had.
● Silicon Valley tech workers are talking about starting their first union in 2017 to defeat Trump.
● Judge temporarily blocks Seattle law allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize.
● Key points from AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka:
- Holding Trump's feet to the fire: Trumka says 36% of AFL-CIO voters went for Trump — 3 points more than Mitt Romney. One of Trumka's top priorities will be to directly communicate with members to make sure Trump can't count on over-performing with union voters in the next election if his actions don't deserve it.
- Pushing for radical rethink on collective bargaining: Trumka wants to reform the law so that every worker has the right to collectively bargain with one or more coworkers, regardless of whether a union has been recognized.
● Nashville's charter industry is unraveling:
The latest example is RePublic Schools. In March a federal judge certified a class-action lawsuit brought by Nashville parents who complained their families are being subjected to illegal hardball recruiting tactics by the charter chain.
RePublic allegedly sent text messages to thousands of parents. As it turns out, RePublic harvested student and family contact information from a Metro Nashville Public Schools database, then turned over the personal information to an out-of-state vendor that generated the texts.