labor

Electric Boat

A labor union for 2,200 workers at submarine maker Electric Boat has agreed to a new, five-year contract through 2019 that includes annual pay raises of three percent or more. 

uaw.org

A long-time organizer with the United Auto Workers said University of Connecticut graduate employees won union recognition last week in what she called "the fastest-moving campaign ever." That’s due, in part, to the support of state lawmakers, and the school’s decision not to interfere.

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut is officially recognizing the new union that will represent more than 2,100 graduate assistants working throughout the UConn campuses. 

Flickr Creative Commons/The U.S. Army

Earlier this week, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that Northwestern University football players are employees of the university. That could have implications for other student athletes in private universities nationwide, including local schools like the University of Hartford.

This all started because the football players at Northwestern wanted to form a union so they could have collective bargaining rights and better health coverage.

J Holt

Many cities promote minority and women owned businesses by hiring them to provide services. But Hartford is going one step further -- with a mentoring program. 

Shane Kelly is an ironwork contractor, and his company, Kelly Steel, has been a certified minority-owned business for years. He wants to expand his business into more areas of his industry. "I've been apprehensive, you know," he said. "No one wants to mess up."

CT-N

The legislature's labor committee had a full slate on Tuesday as it considered some controversial bills. The committee heard public testimony on a wide range of legislation, but among the most disputed were the proposal to further raise the minimum wage, and another bill that would force large corporations to pay a living wage. 

roibu/iStock / Thinkstock

After a 15-month lockout, the longest work stoppage for any symphony orchestra in U.S. history, the Minnesota Orchestra performed its first homecoming concert last week.

Governor Dannel Malloy has proposed raising Connecticut's minimum wage to above $10.00 an hour.

The minimum wage in the Nutmeg State just went up last month to $8.70 an hour. Under legislation passed last year, it will rise again to $9.00 an hour next January, but according to the governor, that's not enough. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Nurses and technicians at New London's Lawrence and Memorial Hospital voted Monday to ratify a contract deal struck late last week between unions and management.

Senator Chris Murphy is adding his voice to the call for a hike in the federal minimum wage.

Connecticut's minimum wage just went up, but there's increasing pressure from President Obama and the Senate Democrats for the federal minimum to follow suit. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided against review a lower court decision that involves former Governor John Rowland and state unions. "In a statement, Rowland and his former budget director Marc Ryan said this: It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court is not taking this case. It will have a profound impact on Governors, Mayors, Boards of Education and taxpayers all across America." The Connecticut Mirror has more.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in an Illinois case that could drive a stake through the heart of public employee unions.

At issue are two questions: whether states may recognize a union to represent health care workers who care for disabled adults in their homes instead of in state institutions; and whether non-union members must pay for negotiating a contract they benefit from.

To understand why a growing number of states actually want to recognize unions to represent home health care workers, listen to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

Elizabeth Lytle is an administrative program assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago — "a glorified name for a secretary," she says.

If Lytle isn't thrilled with her title, she's even less enamored of her job.

"The morale is just unbelievably low because we're never recognized," Lytle says. "Management doesn't seem to go to bat for us."

Harriet Jones

Nurses and technicians go back to work Thursday at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, after the hospital lifted its lockout order.

The move comes after a stand off of more than two weeks. Staff were locked out over the Thanksgiving weekend following a four-day strike.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A state court threw out the convictions on corruption charges that would have sent former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez to prison; Connecticut withdrew its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving state unions and former Governor John Rowland; state Democrats are raking in campaign contributions from Northeast Utility executives; and former state officials reflect on meeting Nelson Mandela.

Harriet Jones

There's been no progress yet towards ending the labor dispute at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London. Talks between unions and management scheduled for today were canceled.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut's Attorney General says he will sit down with union leaders to talk about a settlement in a damages case that dates back to the Rowland administration. To clear the way for talks, George Jepsen has withdrawn his appeal of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case.

Catie Talarski

We're broadcasting live from Wesleyan University, where the Connecticut Humanities Council is kicking off a day-long look at the past, present, and future of work life in Connecticut.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Workers in the fast food industry in Hartford and New Haven are taking part in a nationwide day of action today, campaigning for higher wages.

Senate Democrats

Lawrence and Memorial Hospital has written to its workers detailing what it's called its last, best and final offer.

It's the latest move in a labor dispute that has seen a four-day strike by about 800 nurses and technicians, followed by a still-ongoing lockout.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Unions and management at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital are scheduled to meet at the negotiating table again this week, as nurses and technicians remain locked out of their jobs at the New London facility.

Sen. Donald E. Williams, Jr.

Nurses and technicians at New London's Lawrence and Memorial Hospital were on strike Wednesday morning, after contract talks broke down Tuesday.

The unions, representing some 800 workers, called the walk-out after five hours of talks ended in a stalemate. It's the first major strike at a hospital in the state in almost 30 years. The unions said the biggest issues are job security and patient care.

China announced Friday that it is loosening its decades-old one-child policy, and abolishing its system of "re-education through labor" camps.

In order to have a second child, one parent would have to be an only child under the new rules. Previously, both parents had to be only children in order to have a second child.

Episode 487: The Trouble With The Poverty Line

Sep 22, 2013

According to the government, there are 46.5 million Americans who live below the poverty line. In other words, that's how many people are officially poor. But pretty much everyone who studies poverty agrees: The way we arrive at this figure is completely wrong.

On today's show, we figure out how we got here, why still measure poverty in a way that so many people agree is wrong, and how could we do it better.

For more, see our stories:

Chion Wolf

You may eat out a lot, but do you really have tipping figured out?

Or do you stress about whether you left the right amount?

Would you be happier with an 18 percent service charge added on and no obligation to tip?

These are the shifting restaurant rules we'll talk about today.

Chion Wolf

This week a rodeo clown made news when he wore an Obama mask for a routine that straddled the line between permissible lampooning of a president and unsettling evocations of a lone black man being chased and menaced while a white crowd cheered and jeered. How do we resolve those two strains at the moment? There's our belief in loud, lusty rebuke to people in power and our sense that some depictions of black and white kick historical tripwires and throw us back to 1861.

Cool Insights on Flickr Creative Commons

It’s the set-up for countless plots in tv and the cinema: The low-wage worker accidentally gets his hands on the big boss’ paycheck and is flabbergasted by the numbers he sees.

Outside of Hollywood, here’s the reality: Workers on Wall Street earned an average bonus of $121,900 last year while the per capita average income was $42,693.

But we knew that, right, that people who work in the financial industry in the “money-making” part of our economy are going to make more than, say, schoolteachers.

Connecticut’s largest teachers’ union filed a complaint Tuesday against Bridgeport School Superintendent Paul Vallas.  The dispute centers on the city’s school governance councils,  whose members say they’re being shut out.

School governance councils were established by law in Connecticut in 2010.  Parents, teachers and community members have a chance to serve as advisors, and collaborate with school administrators to improve student achievement.  

Connecticut based fast food giant Subway is cooperating with regulators in an effort to end labor law violations among its thousands of franchise outlets. 

 

Milford-based sandwich chain Subway has the highest number of restaurants in the world, surpassing even McDonalds. But in an organization that big, controlling what happens in each independent business can be difficult.

 

"We noticed a pattern of violations among Subway franchises."

 

Harriet Jones

Workers at Mystic Seaport take to polls Friday to vote on whether to form a union. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it’s the latest stage in what has become a contentious labor relations saga for the famous museum.

Working at Mystic Seaport is about as far as you can get from the traditional 9 to 5.

“I do blacksmithing, sailmaking, coopering, sail handling, and then talk about the historical relevance of all the artifacts and exhibits around the Seaport.”

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