Union membership continuing to tick down year by year doesn’t just affect unions. It leads to rising economic inequality, the Economic Policy Institute reminds us. The share of workers covered by a union bargaining agreement is less than half of what it was in 1979, and “Research shows that this de-unionization accounts for a sizable share of the growth in inequality over that period—around 13–20 percent for women and 33–37 percent for men.”
That means a huge loss for working people: “Applying these shares to annual earnings data reveals that working people are now losing on the order of $200 billion per year as a result of the erosion of union coverage over the last four decades—with that money being redistributed upward, to the rich.”
● Eight thousand hospital workers are on strike in Seattle.
A key bargaining issue is staffing. Swedish has over 900 vacancies. This forces overtime on the rest of the workforce, adding stress and fatigue.
A safe ratio would be three to five patients per nurse, according to strikers I met. Instead, many nurses have to deal with seven to eight patients.
● American Airlines reaches $4.2 billion deal with mechanics and fleet service that boosts profit-sharing and caps offshore work. Members of the unions involved will have to vote to ratify.
● Massachusetts is seeking to improve racial diversity among teachers, by creating a way to bypass licensing tests that may be racially biased.
● Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is planning to boost the threshold for overtime eligibility, meaning either more money or more time for many workers in the state.
● Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost certified a petition for a minimum wage ballot measure.
● Chipotle was hit with a $1.4 million fine in a child labor case:
The authorities examined the records of six Chipotle locations across [Massachusetts], finding that the chain regularly let dozens of 16- and 17-year-old employees work more than nine hours per day and more than 48 hours per week, in violation of state law, according to the Massachusetts attorney general. The authorities then used those findings to estimate that Chipotle had violated child labor laws 13,253 times across 50 locations in the state.
● Abolish the au pair program: This Jacobin piece highlights another impressive pro-worker move from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
● Trump's NLRB quietly makes it riskier to wear union schwag at work.
● New GDP data show that business investment slows for third straight quarter.
● Great news as the Maryland legislature overrode Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a Ban the Box bill.