That Union Thing

A ruling by the National Labor Relations Board will make it easier for temps to organize and bargain collectively. The ruling in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries revised the Board's test for "joint employer" status.

Prior to the ruling, employers were not obligated to bargain with employees hired through a temp agency. The Board found that wages and conditions were co-determined by both the employer and the temp agency, and that both the temp agency and the contracting employer could be compelled to bargain with a labor union.

SAG-AFTRA has launched #SAGAFTRAUNIDOS in an attempt to end double-standard practices in Spanish-language television. SAG-AFTRA contracts guarantee minimum wages and conditions for employees at NBCUniversal English-language outlets but not at the NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo. Advisory Board members for the SAG-AFTRA campaign include United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernandez-Mats and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz.

A new modification of the Fair Labor Standards Act will increase the number of employees eligible for overtime. Starting December 1, the annual salary threshold for receiving overtime for working more than 40 hours per week will rise from $23,660 to $47,476. Any employee working more than 40 hours per week and receiving less than the threshold annual salary must be paid time-and-a-half for hours over 40 per week. The Act also prohibits comp-hours time-shifting, where employers offset overtime hours in one week by reducing hours the next week, such as working 60 hours in the first week and 20 in the following week.

Newsroom employees of Sarasota's Herald-Tribune have voted to be represented by The NewsGuild-CWA. The Herald-Tribune was acquired by GateHouse in 2015, and since that time workers have experienced layoffs and stagnant pay.

New Census reports show that wages have risen but are still lower than they were in 2000. Median household income rose 5.2 percent, to $56,516, in 2015, but that amount is still 5.2 percent lower than in 2000. The report also notes that the poverty rate fell to 13.5 percent, but it is still 2.2 percent higher than in 2000.

A study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that unions raise wages for nonunion workers as well. The study of data from 1979 to 2013 shows that if unions were as strong in 2013 as they were in 1979 wages for all nonunion male workers would be five percent higher.


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