Workers & Economic Inequality

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AM950’s Podcasts: The Daily Report Hour 2 — November 3, 2015

TCF President Mark Zuckerman joined AM950 today to discuss the ways that technology can be used to help modern workers organize in the workplace. Listen to the full podcast below:

In the Midst of Union Battle, Duquesne University Just Fired All but One of Its English Adjuncts

Adjunct teacher unions are nothing new in the labor union landscape, especially at Duquesne University where a group of adjunct professors have been fighting for better representation among their full-time faculty peers. They routinely demand better pay and benefits, predictable schedules, a modicum of job security and a career ladder—all reasonable things to ask of professors. TCF labor fellow Moshe Marvit weighs in on the fact that all but one of the adjunct professors of Duquesne's English department were fired recently.

Clint Benjamin, one of the adjuncts who was threatened in Duquesne’s appeal to the Board, and was included in the English Department layoffs, explained that “there is no doubt in mind that these firings were due to my and others’ vocal union support. Duquesne has been trying to do ‘end arounds’ and manufacture crises since they got wind of our efforts." Benjamin now has to deal with the reality that starting in January he will be losing half his income, and that it’s likely too late to search for other employment to fill the gap.

Read the full article from Marvit on Duquesne's latest union debacle.

Tags: duquesne university, duquesne union, adjunct unions, adjunct professors

Meet Washington’s Wage and Hour Enforcer

Since becoming the head of the Department of Labor's wage and hour division, Boston University economist and business writer David Weil has transformed the division into a "powerful lever in the recent efforts by Barack Obama’s administration to vigilantly police companies that violate the rights of American workers," says TCF fellow Amy Dean.

Weil’s leadership in the fight against employee misclassification — the dramatic expansion of independent contracting and franchising and employers’ efforts to misuse these categories for their gain — has been invaluable. He argues that this practice is at the heart of the historic gap between wages and profits in the American economy, and he has worked hard to rein in abuses.

Read Dean's discussion of the changes undertaken by Weil during his tenure in Al Jazeera America.

The Unionization Tool Management Will Never Expect

TCF fellow Moshe Marvit and former intern Leigh Anne Schriever recently co-authored a report on the potential of members-only unions. Michelle Chen of The Nation spoke with Marvit about the report and discusses the core assertions of the piece in a new article:

How can unions escape the downward spiral of a weakening majoritarian system within a shrinking unionized workforce? Enter the members-only (MO) union, which the think tank Century Foundation calls the minoritarian answer to the silent workplace majority: compensating for lack of quantity with high-quality organizing.

Check out the full article on our members-only unions report at The Nation.

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.


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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