labor

The Connecticut Department of Labor is getting a $3.39 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program. The funds will go toward creation of an apprentice program designed to steer workers displaced from other industries into careers in manufacturing.

Malloy Pledges Millions For Common Core

Mark Pazniokas / CT Mirror

This week, the endorsed Democratic and Republican candidates for governor addressed the AFL-CIO political convention. Not surprisingly, incumbent Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy won the union's endorsement. Notably absent from the convention was new third-party candidate Jonathan Pelto, who said he asked to address the candidates, but was ignored.

This hour, on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we take a look at the role of labor unions in Connecticut politics.

Michael Blann/Digital Vision / Thinkstock

Foxwoods Resort Casino has announced plans to close parts of one of its casinos on weekdays, and lay off employees. This is the latest bid to brings costs under control as its gaming receipts continue to drop.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

From NPR West in Culver City, California it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Arun Rath. Hundreds of graduate assistants at Yale University say they want to be allowed to decide whether to unionize. Grad students at two nearby universities recently formed unions after two very different types of organizing campaigns. One sailed by in a matter of weeks. The other took many years.

Diane Orson of member station WNPR reports from New Haven.

New York has reached a deal with its teachers union, ending a five-year stalemate, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.

The New York Times reports de Blasio, a liberal Democrat taking on a tough issue during his first year in office, called it a "landmark" labor deal. The Times adds:

Diane Orson / WNPR

More than 1,000 graduate assistants at Yale University are calling for a process to decide on unionization.

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:

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