On New Years Day, more than 650,000 Massachusetts minimum-wage workers will see a raise to $12 an hour, according to Boston TV station, WHDH. The labor-backed measure passed the state house in 2018. Although it aimed for $15 an hour, that raise was delayed until 2023. While some businesses continue to complain, others welcome the measure. One Dorchester grocer said, “For us, it’s really about investing in the people who are doing the work, and making sure they can take care of themselves and their families.”
SAG-AFTRA, which represents some 160,000 screen, TV, radio and other actors, has launched an Ads Go Union campaign ahead of February negotiations with the advertising industry. Many actors depend on ads to make a living where “...the production budgets and residual payments can provide working actors with a desirable and consistent paycheck, along with some widespread exposure,” said Backstage magazine.
The global union confederation UNI reports that Ireland has passed a law banning zero hour contracts. These are contracts where the employer is not obliged to provide any specified working hours—leaving workers completely uncertain as to how much, if any, work they’ll receive. Said UNI: “UNI Global Union’s Head of Commerce, Mathias Bolton said, “Ireland is leading the way and is the first country to effectively ban zero hour contracts. Many commerce workers have in particular suffered from zero hours contracts, not knowing from one day to the next when they will work and if they will have enough hours to feed their families or make ends meet.” Although they are not called zero hour, many workers in the US have similar contracts.
While Trump claimed that “many” federal workers want him to keep the government shut down, he failed to provide any evidence that this was so. Unions such as the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) refuted the claim. President Paul Shearon of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, told the New York Daily News that Trump’s claim blatantly “false.” “We have not heard from a single member who supports the President’s inaction,” said Shearon, whose organization represents 80,000 federal employees. “Most view this as an act of ineptitude.”
In an anti-labor decision, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (US) ruled 2-1 against a 2015 decision from the NLRB that made it easier to hold companies responsible for conduct by franchisees and contractors. According to The Hill, “The ruling is a victory for business groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, that warned the rule would damage franchise business models in the U.S.”