Monday Memo

Monday Memo: Week of February 26, 2018

Washington DC rally for labor rightsThe Supreme Court hears oral arguments today in the anti-union Janus case, which could severely undermine unions by making the entire public sector “right to work.” As the New Republic reports, that means “teachers and other government employees can refuse to become dues-paying members of their union and still get the benefits negotiated by it.”

A shadowy network of right-wing billionaires, think tanks and corporations is behind the case, according to the Guardian and In These Times. By framing their arguments in terms of “free speech rights,” the Intercept reports that the case’s authors may unintentionally open up new legal avenues that will benefit unions long-term.

CWA at NYC rally for labor rightsMeanwhile, workers across the country are mobilizing in a nationwide show of force ahead of the case. Check out UPTE’s list of rallies for today, Monday, February 26.

Today’s rallies follow demonstrations in over two dozen cities on Saturday, including in San Diego, Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago.

The Sacramento Bee reports that payouts for settlement of sexual harassment cases at UC in 2016-17 spiked at more than $3.4 million, second only to the Department of Corrections.

Continuing problems with sexual harassment claims are documented by this account of systemic gender discrimination in UC Berkeley’s IT department.

Employers have been aggressively rolling back pension plans and replacing them with inferior 401(k) plans, which put all the risks of investing on the shoulders of workers. As this article in the Atlantic documents, this is becoming a public policy crisis, as many seniors can no longer afford to retire and are forced to work well into their 70s or older.

The California Aggie has reported on the firing of UC Davis’ director of Counseling and Psychological Services after she raised concerns that recent increases in student fees to pay for UCOP’s mental health initiative had not resulted in the hiring of additional counselors, as had been promised, and that the money had been spent elsewhere.

A national school walkout is being planned for Wednesday, March 14 in response to last week’s mass shooting in a Florida high school. A march on Washington follows on Saturday, March 24.


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