Workers & Economic Inequality

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With Auto Strike Looming, Union Leaders Face Rebellion Among Members

For the first time in three decades, United Auto Workers members in Detroit rejected a deal that had been agreed to by their union leaders. TCF fellow Moshe Marvit commented on workers' decision to reject the deal, calling it a "positive development."

“Within the auto industry, workers took big concessions during the recession with a promise that when things got better, it would get better for them too,” he said. “Now, things have gotten better for car-makers, and a lot of workers are frustrated the tier wage system hasn’t been solved.”

Read more about the UAW deal at BuzzFeed.

Labor Rights by Executive Decree

Over the years, President Obama has increasingly turned to executive orders to pass pro-labor laws. TCF fellow Amy Dean discusses this trend in a new opinion piece out in Al Jazeera America.

When it comes to labor rights, the combination of state-level and White House action has become a trend. In the absence of congressional action, states and municipalities are innovating on their own, drawing from and bolstering broad public support for labor protections. At the federal level, the Obama administration is stepping in with executive authority to make gains national.

Learn more about how Obama has used executive orders to modernize labor law in America.

Can Scalia Save Public Sector Unions?

Ironically, one of the Supreme Court's staunchest conservatives may be the last best hope for public-sector unions. TCF fellow Moshe Marvit spoke with POLITICO about the unlikely new potential ally of public-sector unions: Justice Scalia.

In oral arguments for Harris, Scalia appeared to suggest that public-employee union activity was less about public policy and more about representing the practical needs of union members. That might not jibe with the plaintiffs' argument in Friedrichs that collective bargaining is inherently political activity for which non-union members should not be forced to pay. "Scalia comes out of more of a law and economics background," said labor lawyer Moshe Marvit, "and he definitely understands the economics of labor and the free-rider argument."

Read more at POLITICO PRO. (Note that this article is behind a paywall)

Is Donald Trump right to call NAFTA a “disaster”?

TCF fellow Mark Thoma explains the history of NAFTA and points out the specific effects that it has and has not had on the US economy. He says that historically, it has not had a very deep impact on either the US or Mexican economy, largely because of the rise of China as an economic power.

The biggest factor was the unforeseen rise of China. Much of the production and jobs that would have ended up in Mexico as a result of NAFTA went to China instead. If those jobs had gone to Mexicans, much of their new income would have been used to purchase goods produced in the U.S. thereby nullifying NAFTA's negative effects for U.S. workers.

Read Thoma's full article on the realities of NAFTA via CBS Moneywatch .

Tags: trade agreements, nafta, job growth

Morning Shift: Members Only

A new issue brief on members-only unions by TCF fellow Moshe Marvit and former intern Leigh Anne Schriever was included in POLITICO's Morning Shift this morning:

Marvit and Schriever examine three minority unions: the Texas Workers Alliance in San Antonio, Tex.; the Carolina Auto, Aerospace, and Machine Workers Union in Nash County, N.C.; and UE Local 601 in Grove City, Pa. Their conclusions are mixed. On the one hand, “most employers are unlikely to ever recognize a union they are not legally required to,” On the other, “to remain in existence, a members-only union must keep the membership engaged, educated, and active. The widespread use of these tactics would invariably make labor stronger.”

Read more on Marvit and Schriever's research on members-only unions in POLITICO.

Morning Shift: ‘Fair Share’ Challenge Dismissed

The federal lawsuit Bain v. California Teachers Association, which had targeted public union fair share fees, has been dismissed. TCF fellow Moshe Marvit was quoted in an announcement of the decision in POLITICO's Morning Shift.

Labor advocates did not agree, saying, in the words of In These Times’ Moshe Marvit, that the case represented “the high-water mark of perverting the First Amendment as a tool against labor.” The case will almost certainly be appealed.

Read more about the Bain case and other recent news on labor and employment policy at POLITICO.


Workers & Economic Inequality

Workers & Economic Inequality

In recent decades, and especially since 2000, the richest Americans have enjoyed soaring income and wealth while the rest of the population's living standards have stagnated. The Century Foundation was one of the first institutions to raise serious concerns about these trends and propose ideas for improving economic conditions for all Americans- not just the fortunate few.

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