Anthony Calabrese / Wikimedia Commons

Today's Scramble leads off with Annie Lowrey, who tackles a subject that's been dominating a lot of conversations around here lately. What's the matter with Connecticut? is the question Annie Lowrey asks in her weekend essay for New York Magazine. ​​Is there a collective malaise and is it based on economic factors? Annie notes that Connecticut has somehow managed to become both the richest and poorest economy in America--at the same time.

American Woolen Company

In 1894, a new national holiday was created -- a day when American workers could retreat from harsh work conditions and long hours to spend some time with family and friends. The holiday was called Labor Day.

New data released by the Department of Labor shows that raising the minimum wage in some states does not appear to have had a negative impact on job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.

In a report on Friday, the 13 states that raised their minimum wages on Jan. 1 have added jobs at a faster pace than those that did not. The data run counter to a Congressional Budget Office report in February that said raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, as the White House supports, could cost as many as 500,000 jobs.

Strike Averted On Nation's Largest Commuter Rail Line

Jul 17, 2014

A tentative agreement has headed off a strike at the nation's largest commuter railroad.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who became personally involved in talks between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and unions representing Long Island Rail Road workers, announced Thursday that a deal had been reached, three days ahead of a planned strike.

The 5,400 LIRR employees had been working without a contract since 2010.

"This is a compromise by both parties after four long years," Cuomo said.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

UConn's athletic director said he opposes the idea of unions for college athletes, but sees the need to provide students on athletic scholarships with additional money. 

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A Berlin limousine firm has been ordered to pay its drivers half a million dollars in back wages and damages, after it failed to pay overtime for several years.

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Governor Dannel Malloy’s office will study the implications of a Supreme Court ruling that weakens the power of unions to organize home health care workers.

It wasn't the worst possible outcome for public sector unions. But that could still happen.

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.

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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.



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.

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."


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. 

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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.