News affecting working people this week: February 15-19

News affecting working people this week: February 15-19

by Rachel Warino


I'm sure by now everyone has heard the news about Justice Scalia from last weekend. There's an incredible number of articles about it as well as analyses on the implications for SCOTUS, pending cases, and a new appointment to fill his seat. Here are some of the highlights that focus on the impact on working people from this week worth reading: 

  • What Will Become of Public-Sector Unions Now?, Atlantic
  • In Wake Of Scalia's Death, Fate Of Labor Union 'Agency Fees' Unclear, CapRadio
  • Friedrichs Is Dead; Labor’s Crisis Is Not. The ‘Scalia Dividend’ Is a Rare Opportunity for Unions. In These Times
  • When Scalia Died, So Did ‘Friedrichs’—And an Even Grander Scheme To Destroy Unions, In These Times. Labor attorney Moshe Marvit argues that a defeat of Friedrichs will prevent other anti-union decisions that could have occurred with a conservative majority SCOTUS
  • How Scalia's death may save teachers unions — for now, LA Times
  • Untold story: How Scalia's death blew up an anti-union group's grand legal strategy, LA Times
  • The most significant Supreme Court case that could be immediately affected by Scalia’s death, Washington Post
  • Justice Scalia’s replacement could determine the future of gay rights at work, Washington Post

Golden State Round Up 


  • Senator Connie Leyva Unveiled the “Worker Heat Safety Act” this week 
  • L.A. teachers union wins dues increase, vows to battle foes of traditional public education, LA Times
  • Ballot proposal would require L.A. developers to provide affordable housing, LA Times
  • Silicon Valley’s Wealth Gap, The Nation on the new Opportunity to Work measure that would direct companies to give part-time workers an opportunity to work more hours before they hire new part-timers.
  • CalChamber sends ‘job killer’ bills to its personal graveyard, SacBee
  • Bankruptcy: Fixing California’s Homestead Exemption Law, Capital & Main
  • An intentional homeless community, East Bay Express
  • Check out the new UCLA Labor Center animated short highlighting data from their recent report about young workers. 

    • Al Jazeera also reported on this research and I can't emphasize enough how much it differs from the (generally) problematic characterizations of young workers we generally see in mainstream news.  From the article: “No one understands what young workers are going through,” said Orellana, who still lives with her parents in south central Los Angeles. “They’re not working to play but to live.”

Going National


  • new report released this week by the AFL-CIO shows how the Trans-Pacific Partnership lacks adequate labor rights provisions
  • Forced Arbitration may be a driving factor in soaring income inequality according to a new study 
  •  Walmart Wages Are the Main Reason People Depend on Food Stamps, The Nation
  • AFL-CIO Delays Making Endorsement In Democratic Presidential Primary, TPM
  • Walmart is rolling out big changes to worker schedules this year, WaPo
  • Schedule workers as you would have them schedule you, great OpEd in Seattle Times
  • Uber/Gig Economy Roundup

    • More Uber drivers file labor lawsuits: One claims he makes only $80 per week, Ars Technica
    • Uber, Taskrabbit, other Silicon Valley darlings urge Europe not to screw their business, The Register
    • Uber may soon owe $28.5 million to 25 million riders, Mashable
  • The DOL Wage & Hour Division reportedly uncovered labor violations resulting in nearly $1.6 billion in back wages for 1.7 million workers since 2009. 
  • Ford Becomes Latest Major Corporation to Dump ALEC, PR Watch

Feel Good Friday

On this day in 1975, workers won Weingarten Rights (the right to have union representation during an interrogation) at the Supreme Court thanks to a brave retail clerk, Leura Collins. UFCW Local 324 tells Leura's inspiring story: 

“In June of 1972, Leura Collins decided to buy some chicken. Chicken that she planned to donate, along with a cake, to a church dinner. She had no idea that this decision and the demands for union representation would take her name all the way to the Supreme Court. Her courage and determination won such important rights for workers that her name should be engraved as one of the most important figures in labor. The cost of the chicken may have only been one dollar but the rewards have made us all the richer.” 

Read more about Leura via UFCW Local 324. Cheers to Leura!