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Workplace Issues Today

Daily News for Thursday, April 17, 2014

Selected by the Catherwood Library Reference Staff each Monday through Friday, excluding University holidays, WIT is a free alert service, providing abstracts and links to workplace-related news stories covered in the major media. Subscribe to WIT »

Established in 1999, this service also includes a searchable archive.

Chamber of Commerce says worker centers may fundamentally change labor relations

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce held a briefing on Wednesday discussing the new and expanding role of “worker centers” as compliments to and potential replacements of traditional unions. The Chamber, the largest business lobbying group in the U.S., said that the growth of “worker centers” represented a “significant paradigm shift” in U.S. labor relations. Worker centers can bypass many of the traditional U.S. labor laws that dictate how, when, what, and for whom negotiations and bargaining can take place and be protected. For example, OUR Walmart, a worker center who demonstrates on behalf of low-wage workers at Walmart and some partner firms, was able to pressure the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) to pressure its members to increase paid sick-leave. The Chamber of Commerce warned labor consultants, trade association representatives, attorneys, and political staffers that this same story could play out in other industries across the nation.

See “U.S. Chamber says non-union groups could reshape labor relations,” by Amanda Becker, Reuters, Apr 17 2014 (BCS)

UIC, faculty reach tentative agreement

The University of Illinois at Chicago and its faculty union have reached a tentative agreement after more than two years of negotiations. The union, which represents 1,150 tenured and non-tenured faculty, has said that work life and conditions are much better under the new possible agreement, but refused to give details. The union and administration had difficulty reaching resolution on the issue of promotion opportunities for current, non-tenured faculty and pay raises for long-term faculty whose salaries are now less than those of new hires. If approved by the union members, as is recommended by leadership, the agreement will become the university’s first faculty contract.

See “UIC, faculty union reach tentative agreement,” by Sandra Guy, Chicago Sun Times, Apr 17 2014 (BCS)

Largest labor action in China in recent memory reaches tenth day

Workers in China engaging in one of the largest strikes in recent years have turned down the most recent offer of improved social benefits. The strike includes thousands of workers and has lasted 10 days we well as scuffles with police. The labor action has sent Yue Yuen Industrial (Holdings) reeling as it discovered the extent of collaboration between the workers, the local and state government and the national social security bureau. Yue Yuen makes shoes for Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and others who are worried not only about future shipments, but also about the threat of future labor actions and the long term affordability of the plant’s products.

See “Massive China shoe factory strike rolls on as offer falls flat,” by John Ruwitch & Donny Kwok, Chicago Tribune, Apr 17 2014 (BCS)