Labor Day Reading

September 1st, 2014 at 9:56 am

Some great articles worth a look on labor, unions, wages, and more:

EJ Dionne on an exemplary employer and the workers who went to bat for him.

Jon Cohn interviews one of the deepest thinkers I know on labor issues: Rich Yeselson.

An important look at the problem of “wage theft” in the NYT.

Bob Kuttner on some recent wins for workers.

A strong NYT editorial with good ideas as to useful policies to address the deficits in labor’s bargaining power that I discuss here.

What else? Add you own links in comments.

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7 comments in reply to "Labor Day Reading"

  1. Chris G says:

    The local coverage of and commentary on the Market Basket worker walkout has been pretty good.

    Adam Vaccaro with a post-resolution summary, “It Wasn’t Just About ‘Artie T.'” –

    Thomas Kochan at Cognoscenti:
    “After The Market Basket Deal, Congratulations And Thanks” –
    “How Market Basket Can Right Its Course” –
    “Market Basket: The Worst Case Scenario” –
    “In Market Basket Protests, Three Lessons For Corporate America” –

    And Paul Pustorino, “Stewardship, Or Self-Interest” –

  2. Robert Salzberg says:

    Labor Day links from Mark Thoma’s Economist’s View, (a Krugman favorite).

    Justin Fox: What Unions No Longer Do

    Timothy Taylor: The Origins of Labor Day

  3. Tiree says:

    Just please don’t mention entrepreneurs!

    I come here for a dose of reality. Entrepreneurs are a dime a dozen. Take that, Eric Cantor, and take it home with you, and please, let the door hit you on the way out!

  4. Robert Salzberg says:

    The International Labour Organization has a detailed analysis of the factors responsible for the decline in global labor’s income.

    Here’s a highlight from ILO’s Global Wage Report 2012/2013, p.51:

    ” Figure 38(a) shows that in the case of developed economies all factors contributed to the fall in the labour income share over time, with global financialization playing the largest role. The estimates mean that, in terms of relative contribution, global financialization contributes 46 per cent of the fall in labour income shares, compared to contributions of 19 per cent by globalization, 10 per cent by technology and 25 per cent by changes in two broad institutional variables: government consumption and union density. These results open up the possibility that the impact of finance may have been underestimated in many of the previous studies and suggest that overlooking the role of financial markets may have serious implications for our understanding of the causes of labour share trends.”—dgreports/—dcomm/—publ/documents/publication/wcms_194843.pdf

  5. Smith says:

    Great to see New York Times addressing the way the Fair Labor Standards Act being abused by calling office workers professionals, hence not subject to 40 hour work week. Yet thinking ahead, it is important that ending the implied mandatory overtime employers currently demand of salaried employees, does not mean the alternative is everyone punches a clock, is closely timed on their lunch hour and coffee breaks. It only means you can’t demand or imply employees spend over 40 hours week on the job with zero compensation for OT (let alone time and a half). It doesn’t prevent someone from doing this (thought technically, it actually does). In all cases, common sense and trust should win out. It is a cultural shift more than anything else that’s required, thinking about working smarter, not harder, or longer. But productivity is still a/the goal. And of course overtime is still subject to abuse for hourly employees who cash in with management collusion (NYC conservative print media always has an expose about some government service annually).

    As efforts mount to restore labor power, it’s important to recall the abuse or unproductive effects of that power and how to prevent a recurrence which produced the backlash critical to defeating unionism and workers rights enacted as part of the New Deal.

  6. Tiree says:

    Why doesn’t Biden appeal?

    Joe Biden would be the best president since FDR in my opinion. I’m going to give honest feedback here, I don’t expect it to be printed.

    I have friends that are independents. They love Biden! I’m not kidding. We know that Biden is on the side of us Democrats.

    Why is he not appealing as a candidate? I’ve asked myself that a thousand times. I agree, there’s something missing.


    He doesn’t have the instincts that let him attack. People today expect attack. Biden doesn’t attack.

    Obviously we don’t want him to change. I think he could win if he learns how to attack discretely and with laser precision.

    He’s our next president.