One reason for concern as consumers have turned to more energy-efficient light bulbs has been that those bulbs were overwhelmingly manufactured in China. So it's good to see Neutex Advanced Energy Group, which makes LED lights and fixtures, bringing manufacturing back to the United States, and working with the IBEW to provide union jobs. One hopes that all the talk in the video of the union working to help the employer with its wants and needs doesn't mean workers' wants and needs are being overlooked. Because as long as that's not the case, it's pretty exciting to see American union manufacturing of energy-efficient products that had been being made in China.
More from this week in the War on Workers below the fold.
A fair day's wage
- In the "workers you don't think of as union members" category, musicians in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra approved a new collective bargaining agreement.
- Workers at a New York City MetroPCS store voted to unionize.
- Thousands of grocery store workers in Washington state voted to authorize a strike.
- A New Jersey newspaper and four unions reached a tentative agreement, averting a shutdown.
- When eight Papa John's pizza outlets in Sacramento, California, closed recently, the franchise owner wrote bad checks to pay his low-wage workers who are now out of a job—and without the pay they were owed.
- Looking for an American, union-made car? The UAW has released its 2014 guide.
- How one stroke of the pen could lift wages for millions:
Courtney Shackleford is one of two entry-level employees at the Ben and Jerry’s in Washington, D.C.,’s Union Station, where she makes $8.25 an hour. Like many workers in America’s growing low-wage economy, she struggles to make ends meet: Between her pregnancy and her tuition fees at Trinity Washington University, Shackleford doesn’t make enough to cover basic expenses. [...]
But Shackleford isn’t just a low-wage worker: She’s a low-wage worker whose employer happens to have a contract with the United States government. Because the Ben and Jerry’s that she works at is located in a federally-owned building, the federal government has broad latitude to determine how employees there are treated. On Thursday, Shackleford and about 175 other federally contracted workers [went] on strike, rallying outside the White House, and asking the president to exercise that authority.
- Working America is organizing in Texas for an anti-wage theft ordinance in Houston and more.
- Historically, it's been hard to get much sympathy for the plight of NCAA athletes. People tended to think first and foremost of the athletes who would be going on to high pay and celebrity, overlooking the small number that would be true of and not understanding the degree of exploitation even they face along the way. But lately there's momentum behind the understanding that these athletes aren't really amateurs and they're putting their bodies on the line for school profits. The athletes themselves are fighting for change; during televised football games on Saturday, Josh Eidelson reports, 28 players wrote "APU," short for "All Players United," on wrist tape or elsewhere. Players are protesting conditions like this:
Huma noted that current NCAA rules allow universities to cancel scholarships and medical coverage for athletes injured on the field, and prohibit universities from replacing athletic scholarships with non-athletic scholarships when a player is dropped from the team. The NCAA, charged Huma, would rather schools “save a buck and excuse themselves from their stated obligation of educating that player.” With “over a billion dollars in new revenue” coming in, said Huma, “there should be more support for the players,” rather than all the cash “going to the places where it usually goes”: luxury boxes and six-figure salaries. NCPA has also called for college athletes to be allowed to sign endorsement deals, and for stipends they receive to be hiked to better reflect the true cost of attending college.
- Mitt Romney must be weeping: Staples has its first North American union contract. In Canada, naturally.
- Um, yay?
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is hiring 55,000 seasonal workers and adding another 70,000 part-time and full-time workers as it gears up for the holiday season and reverses workforce reductions that have made it hard to keep store shelves stocked.
The company is moving 35,000 part-time workers to full-time status and is elevating another 35,000 to part-time from temporary, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said today in a statement. The 70,000 workers will be elevated in the next few months and will keep their new posts after the holiday season ends, said Kory Lundberg, a Wal-Mart spokesman.
- Being able-bodied doesn't make jobs magically appear.
- Why the poor don't work, according to the poor.
- Do charter schools spend more on administration than traditional public schools? They sure do in Texas.
- Cyber schools flunk but tax money keeps flowing:
Taxpayers send nearly $2 billion a year to cyber schools that let students from kindergarten through 12th grade receive a free public education entirely online.
The schools, many managed by for-profit companies, are great at driving up enrollment with catchy advertising. They excel at lobbying. They have a knack for making generous campaign donations.
But as new state report cards coming out now make clear, there’s one thing they’re not so good at: educating kids.
- Why one person quit Teach for America:
[T]he truth is, by finally showing I don’t believe that American education can be saved by youthful enthusiasm, I feel more like a leader than I ever did inside the corps.