Low-wage workers are winning big victories in their continuing struggle to raise wages and strengthen rights for those in the lowest-paid jobs in the U.S.After steady pressure from “Fight for $15,” the City Council of Birmingham, Ala., passed an ordinance on Aug. 17 to raise the city minimum wage to $10.10 per hour over the next two years. The federal $7.25 per hour is now the minimum wage in Alabama. “Fight for $15” is a national organization begun by fast food workers to “fight for fair wages and the right to form a union without retaliation.” (fightfor15.org)Birmingham low-wage workers rally outside St. Vincent’s Hospital, June 22.The council vote, under review by the city’s legal department, is thought to be the first such law in the southeast U.S. if it goes into effect. (Al.com)More historic wage-raising victories in Kentucky and North Carolina echo this Deep South gain, made where ruling-class resistance to labor organizing has traditionally been most vicious.The low-wage movement has surged dramatically, starting with the first New York City, one-day walkout by 200 workers in 2012. In April 2015, tens of thousands of low-wage workers and supporters protested in 200 cities in the movement’s ninth one-day strike. This mobilization of worker strength is one of the longest continuing U.S. labor campaigns since the 1930s.The rise in low-wage worker organizing has been called an “earthquake,” a “tidal wave” and “an idea whose time has come” by labor analysts. (Guardian, Los Angeles Times)Led first by fast food workers, the campaign now embraces people in the broadest range of low-wage labor — from car wash, child care, convenience store, fast food, home care and health care workers to adjunct professors and sweatshop big-box warehouse workers.The low-wage movement and other community struggles are connecting, linking worker rights to students’ right to education, people’s right to water and housing, and the Black Lives Matter demand to freedom from racist state and police terror.The April 15 action by the Workers Center of Central New York in Syracuse, N.Y., showed the new strength of labor-community bonds. There, low-wage health aides and fast food workers were joined by local union members from auto, civil service, health care, roofing, plumbing, transit, and teaching — and representatives from local anti-war groups, cultural groups, churches, synagogues and mosques.The power of the movement & the NLRB rulingIn July, a New York state panel appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed a $15 minimum wage for the state’s 180,000 fast food workers. Cities including Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles have voted to phase in a $15 minimum wage.On Aug. 27, the National Labor Relations Board ruled three-to-two that a company that hires a contractor to staff its business or facilities may be considered a “joint employer” of any workers hired. This ruling would affect workers at franchise businesses like those licensed by McDonald’s, among many others.That means a union representing those workers could legally bargain with the parent company, not just the contractor, on their behalf, as well as challenge labor violations for the workers. (New York Times)The NLRB is the federal “agency of last resort” for U.S. worker/labor conflicts, charged with “conducting elections for labor union representation and with investigating and remedying unfair labor practices.” (nlrb.gov)The NLRB ruling could potentially affect millions of U.S. workers. According to the National Employment Law Project, there are about 3.4 million temporary or “staffing-agency” subcontracted jobs alone in the U.S. That’s 2.25 percent of total U.S. employment. The project notes the numbers are doubtless much higher because the U.S. doesn’t track subcontracted workers. (Guardian)Bourgeois economists, pursuing their own political and economic agendas, have recently backed minimum wage increases; for example, economist Paul Krugman’s op-ed, “Liberals & Wages,” in the July 17 New York Times.But in an editorial damning the NLRB ruling, the conservative National Review magazine compared workers to bank robbers. Then, in the same article, the National Review admitted business owners regularly subcontracted to evade worker-friendly labor laws.The Wall Street Journal was aghast at the “radical rewriting of U.S. labor law” by this NLRB decision.In the face of bitter ruling-class resistance, the recent low-wage worker wins would never have been realized without the fierce struggle of the workers themselves, out in the streets with their communities, “Fighting for $15!”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
Harvard University will invest new resources immediately to expand and strengthen its Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, President Drew Faust announced today. The increase in resources was among a series of immediate actions recommended by the Sexual Assault Task Force, which is led by former Harvard Provost Steven E. Hyman.In addition to the investment in that office, recommendations include creation of a website that aggregates and clearly highlights the broad array of current prevention and response resources in one location; resources on which the Schools can draw as they devise training and orientation programs for the fall; and a campus survey to assess the incidence, circumstances, and perceptions of sexual assault and other forms of sexual harassment at Harvard.Faust accepted the recommendations and said that the University “will move at once to implement your four recommendations for immediate action.”The recommendations were developed after the first two task force meetings and were included in a May 13 letter from Hyman to Faust, who commissioned the group earlier this spring.“Reflecting the urgency of the issue, we chose to begin our work immediately,” wrote Hyman, former director of the National Institute for Mental Health. “During the summer, we will gather data on effective practices developed by other universities and by the military, and will also review relevant academic literature. In addition, we plan to develop survey instruments attuned to the Harvard community. A critical activity that will begin as soon as students and faculty return in the fall will be a process of broad outreach to members of the Harvard community to gather input.“While we have much work in front of us in the next months, we have determined that there are several steps that can be taken now,” he wrote, strongly recommending immediate new support for office, the website, the fall programming, and the proposed campus survey.Hyman emphasized that the new resources are being made necessary by the increased national focus on sexual misconduct on college campuses.“With renewed attention to sexual assaults, the call for services has increased and will likely continue to do so,” he wrote.In accepting the recommendations, Faust thanked the task force for its focus on near-term improvements and said the University must “do better” on issues related to sexual assault.“As I noted when the task force was constituted, Harvard will meet our legal obligations, but they alone should not bound our response to this behavior,” wrote Faust. “We can, and indeed we must, do better.“We have the responsibility to think in new ways about the best means of preventing sexual assault and ensuring that we are effectively responding to those who have experienced it.”Hyman was instrumental in creating the office in 2003, a reform that significantly bolstered Harvard’s ability to respond to incidents of misconduct and to support those who had experienced sexual harassment, including assault. The new director of the office, Alicia Oeser, is a task force participant.For more than a year, the University has worked to respond to the rapidly evolving legal landscape and to the needs of students, faculty, and staff. Last spring, the first University Title IX officer, Mia Karvonides, was hired. She convened a working group last May to review existing, School-based Title IX policies and procedures. That group produced the first University-wide Title IX policy, which has been submitted for review to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.
All attention in girls soccer now turns to the Section III playoffs, where in Class B Westhill holds the no. 11 state ranking and Marcellus has the no. 17 ranking, each of them intent on regaining championship glory.If they both win in the first two rounds, the no. 2 seed Mustangs and no. 3 seed Warriors could meet up in the sectional semifinals, though they open with first-round matches Thursday as Marcellus welcomes no. 15 seed Mexico and Westhill meets no. 14 seed General Brown.Before this, Marcellus played last Tuesday against Homer and fought past the Trojans 2-0. In the 30th minute, the game was still 0-0 when Sarah Fallon’s cross found Sara Milenicki, and she one-timed it just inside the post. Then, in the 55th minute, it was Katie MacLachlan’s turn, providing a nice dribble with her chest on a pass from Julia Schoeneck before putting the shot past Homer goalie Melina Settineri.A day later, Marcellus rolled past Hannibal 7-0, scoring six times in a rain-soaked first half and getting some contributions from two new players called up from the JV ranks.Annalise Bird had her first two varsity goals, with Lucy Powell also new to the team and also finding the net. They complemented Mei LaMarre, who also scored twice, with Mielnicki and Hannah Durand getting the other goals. Tags: girls soccerMarcellusskaneatelesWest GeneseeWesthill Sarah Hutchings got three assists and Lily Locastro added two assists, with MacLachlan and Sarah Fallon also earning assists.Skaneateles is also in the Class B sectional tournament as a no. 12 seed with a first-round game Wednesday at no. 5 seed, Holland Patent. Prior to that, the Lakers and had a chance to make a big statement in last Thursday night’s game against Westhill at Hyatt Stadium.And it was scoreless for a half, but in the second half the Warriors converted twice to beat the Lakers 2-0, both goals coming from Erica Gangemi, one unassisted, the other assisted by Ciarra Rudnick. Lauren Bendall stopped all four Skaneateles shots she faced.Without any rest, Skaneateles had to turn around and visit Marcellus Friday night, and the Mustangs, improving to 14-2 overall, shut out the Lakers 3-0.Twice in the first half less than seven minutes apart, Katie MacLachlan struck for unassisted goals to put the Mustangs in charge. It stayed that way for a while, but with 9:15 left Emma MacLchlan’s pass found Durand, who drilled a 25-yard shot past Lakers goalie Tatum Pas’cal.Westhill hosted Christian Brothers Academy on Saturday, and got one more impressive victory before the post-season, the Warriors defeating the Brothers 2-0.This time it was Rudnick at the forefront, netting both of Westhill’s goals as Gangemi and Ashley Bolesh picked up the assists. The Warriors held CBA to four shots, all stopped by Bendall.West Genesee, getting ready for the Class AA sectional playoffs, met state no. 14-ranked Baldwinsville last Wednesday in a game moved to the turf at Mike Messere Field due to wet weather.Having lost 3-1 to the Bees late in September, the Wildcats looked for payback, and got closer, but still lost by a 2-1 margin.Less than five minutes into the game, B’ville went in front on Anya Putszai’s goal, assisted by defender Gwyneth Madden, but WG’s defense kept the Bees quiet for the rest of the half.Deep into the second half, the margin was still one when, with 14;34 left, Hannah Mimas converted. That was needed, since the Wildcats answered less with 11:57 to play on Eva Poissant’s unassisted goal.Though it had a chance to get to overtime, WG could not quite do so, held to four shots overall as, in the net, Liz Croft and Caitlin Mills combined for 11 saves.The Class AA sectional bracket has just six teams. If the no. 3 seed Wildcats knock off no. 6 seed Rome Free Academy on Friday, it will get another shot at B’ville, the no. 2 seed, in the Oct. 30 semifinals at Central Square.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story