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Workplace Issues Today

Daily News for Wednesday, April 16, 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.

Detroit reaches deal with police, fire retirees, hopeful for others soon

The City of Detroit has reached a deal with its police and firefighter retirees over their retirement benefits as a part of the city’s bankruptcy proceedings. The deal with the Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighters Association, the group that represents the 6,500 retirees, existing pension payments would remain the same, but annual cost-of-living increases would only be 50% of what had been stated previously. Additionally, a voluntary plan will be made available to retirees who wish to purchase healthcare. The deal is contingent on contributions exceeding $800 million by the Detroit Institute of Arts and the state of Michigan. The deal is a good sign in the eyes of creditors and the city alike not only because it shows hope for future deals and ultimately resolution of the city’s bankruptcy, but also because it means that lawsuits aimed at overturning the ruling that Detroit was eligible for bankruptcy are more likely to get dropped.

See “Detroit police, fire retirees reach pension deal: court mediators,” by Karen Pierog, Reuters, Apr 16 2014 (BCS)

Chinese court convicts workers who held labor protest of “disturbing social order”

On Tuesday, a Chinese court ruled that 12 hospital security guard who staged a labor protest last year were “disturbing social order”. The labor protest stemmed from a labor dispute between Guangzhou Chinese Medicine University Hospital and more than 100 hospital workers over working conditions and pay. The guards were excluded from a deal that the hospital reached with the other workers, at which point the guards threatened to jump off the top of the hospital building, but were reached by police before they could. The court’s sentenced the guards lightly which experts say may be a move on the government’s part to rule based on existing philosophy and precedent while also not aggravating workers who are pushing ever harder for their rights in the workplace. Many of the guards legal representatives have said that they will appeal the decision.

See “China convicts hospital workers after high-profile labor protest,” by John Ruwitch, Reuters, Apr 16 2014 (BCS)

Oklahoma law bans municipalities from raising minimum wage, requiring sick-days

On Monday, Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma signed into law a bill which prohibited localities within the state from establishing minimum wage, vacation, and sick-day requirements. The bill had passed the House last Tuesday where supporters were saying that it is aimed at preventing many different minimum wages across the state. Some say that the bill specifically targeted Oklahoma City where there is currently a drive to raise the city’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. There is an initiative already underway to bring the new state law to a statewide vote, which will require collecting 80,000 signatures.

See “Oklahoma Governor Signs Minimum Wage Hike Ban,” by Bailey Elise McBride, US News & World Report, The Associated Press, Apr 16 2014 (BCS)