labor

Texas
4:24 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Study Finds Big Jump in Non-English Speaking Workers in Austin

Non-English speakers accounted for one fourth of all workers in the Austin construction industry, according to a Brookings Institution survey.
Photo by KUT

A study from the Brookings Institution released this week shows an increase in Austin area citizens that have limited proficiency in English. Just over 11 percent of people in the Austin-Round Rock area are among the so-called “limited English proficient” (LEP) population.

The survey showed a 40 percent increase in that population from 2000 to 2012, which totaled 142,338.

That population accounts for just over a quarter of the workforce in the area’s construction industry, earning a median income of $24,000. In addition, nearly 83 percent of those listed Spanish as their first language, and half were recent immigrants.

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Law
6:53 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

U.T. Sports Law Expert Says Student Athletes Deserve Compensation

No shortage of fans willing to pay to be in these seats on game days
KUT News

This week, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern University athletes can legally form a union.

Here in Austin, UT Law professor Dr. Lucas Powe sees it as a change that can be expected for elsewhere.

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Business
3:09 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Majority of Texas Fast-Food Workers on Public Assistance

Texas has the seventh-largest percentage of front-line fast-food workers on public assistance among 24 states included in a new report.
flickr.com/keoni101

Fifty-nine percent of front-line fast-food workers in Texas rely on public assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid to support their families, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Nationally, more than half – 52 percent – of the families of front-line fast-food workers use at least one public assistance program, compared with a quarter of the total workforce, according to the report. The research was sponsored by the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Urban & Regional Planning.

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Business
2:50 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Austin Fast Food Workers Strike For Higher Wages

Fast food workers and supporters rallied this afternoon in support of a $15 an hour wage.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Some Austin fast food workers are joining a nationwide strike for higher wages. Employees from Wendy’s, Jack in the Box and Long John Silver’s gathered in protest this afternoon on Guadalupe Street near the UT campus.

Greg Lee works at Long John Silver’s. He makes $7.25 an hour.

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Business
12:35 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Texas Fast-Food Workers to Join Nationwide Strike

Texas fast-food workers are planning to join a nationwide strike on Thursday to call for $15-an-hour wages. Recently, there have been similar strikes in cities across the country. This one was in Milwaukee.
flickr.com/wisconsinjobsnow

Jose Avila thought he could save money to pay off college loans by moving into his mother’s one-bedroom Houston apartment and working at a Subway restaurant. But he says he’s barely making ends meet on his $7.75-an-hour wage, and he considers taking the bus to work such an extravagance that he walks an hour and a half each way, unless it’s raining.

Avila, 22, says he plans to join fast-food workers in dozens of cities across the country on Thursday in a pre-Labor Day strike to call for $15-an-hour wages. Workers in Houston, Dallas and Austin plan to participate, organizers say.

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Politics
5:20 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Labor Sec. Seth Harris on How to Reduce the Deficit by $200 Billion

U.S. Secretary of Labor Seth Harris told KUT News that a comprehensive reform of the immigration policies will requiring reforming a "broken" legal immigration system, cracking down on employers of illegal immigrants and strenthening border security.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

This week Congress will take up what some say is a long overdue reform of national immigration policy. The U.S. has been slow to recover from the recession, and U.S. Secretary of Labor Seth Harris says this overhaul could be a boon for the economy. 

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Austin
8:41 am
Wed April 17, 2013

Meet 8 People Who May Decide the Fates of Some City Employees

Many city employees, such as those pictured at a rally in 2011, have more labor rights under the civil service program passed in November.
KUT News

The City of Austin is hosting a community meeting tonight to introduce the top eight applicants to serve on the Municipal Civil Service Commission.

The commission, approved in November by voters as Proposition 10, will propose personnel rules for most City of Austin employees. They will also make final decisions in the cases of city employees who are appealing disciplinary action such as being suspended or demoted.

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Austin
10:19 am
Wed March 20, 2013

One Week Left to Apply for Austin's New Municipal Civil Service Commission

City workers rally at City Hall in 2011. Most city employees have greater labor protections under Prop 10 passed in November.
KUT News

There is one week left to apply for the five-member Municipal Civil Service Commission. It's part of Proposition 10 that Austin voters approved in November. It establishes a municipal service system for most city employees.

According to the City of Austin, the Municipal Civil Service Commission will help to establish certain personnel rules. The commission will then make final decisions on appeals of disciplinary actions by most City of Austin employees. The commission is expected to hear cases from city employees or are fired, demoted or denied a promotion.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
2:34 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Texas Attorney General Abbott Digs In on 'Right-To-Work' Policies

Sen. Kel Seliger, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson annoiunced a "Workers Bill of Rights" today. Union organizers say the measures are punitive towards the working class.
KUT News

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced a "Workers Bill of Rights" this morning at the Capitol. The document outlines the rights of Texas workers, including the ability to abstain from union membership and paying union dues. 

Abbott also took the occasion to promote House Bill 1524, a bill that would allow Texas workers to have "secret ballots" in union votes, saying that the privacy would allow workers to express opinions without any possible union interference or coercion from union leadership. 

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Labor
12:57 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Union Membership Continues Decline; Now At Lowest Level Since 1930s

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 11:34 am

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says union membership continues to decline in the United States.

In 2012, American Union membership rate dropped to 11.3 percent from 11.8 percent in 2011. As The Washington Post reports, that's the lowest level since the 1930s.

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Labor
11:20 am
Mon December 31, 2012

A Tough Year For Unions, With Few Bright Spots Ahead

Despite huge protests at Michigan's state capitol building in Lansing, Republican lawmakers in the state made the union stronghold the 24th right-to-work state in the country.
Rebecca Cook Reuters via Landov

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 4:55 pm

This year was a tough one for organized labor.

In June, Scott Walker — the Wisconsin governor who banned collective bargaining for public employee unions — survived a recall election.

And, despite huge protests in Michigan, the union stronghold became the 24th right-to-work state, banning unions from requiring workers to sign up. That came just 10 months after Indiana passed a similar law.

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Politics
5:44 pm
Wed December 12, 2012

In Midwest Union Fights, Michigan Shows 2010 Election Still Trumps 2012

Silent protesters Wednesday in Lansing, Mich., wear tape with messages that signify wages they say they could lose because of the state's new right-to-work law.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 11:54 am

No one can argue the setback to organized labor served up by Michigan's new law, which bars unions from requiring workers to pay dues even if they don't join their workplace bargaining unit.

Tuesday's passage of "right to work" legislation in a state dominated by the auto industry and the historically powerful United Auto Workers was a surprising "smack in the face" to unions, says labor expert Lee Adler, especially given President Obama's nearly 10-point win in the state last month.

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Labor
11:26 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Michigan Governor Signs Right-To-Work Bills Into Law

Union members from around the country rallied outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing as lawmakers voted on the right-to-work legislation.
Bill Pugliano Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:06 pm

Update at 6:00 p.m. ET:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law two controversial "right-to-work" bills passed earlier Tuesday by the state's House. This officially makes Michigan the 24th right-to-work state in the nation.

The two bills give both public and private employees so-called right-to-work protections — controversial pieces of legislation that have sparked protests in and around the state capitol in Lansing.

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Business
3:17 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Maybe Twinkies Do Last Forever: Union, Hostess Headed To Mediation

The big name in the Hostess lineup.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 7:43 am

"Twinkies Saved! Hostess, Bakers Union Agree to Mediation, Avoiding Shutdown."

That's the "alert" this hour at CNBC.com.

Reuters has issued this "bulletin":

"US BANKRUPTCY JUDGE SAYS PARTIES AGREE TO MEDIATION ON TUESDAY IN HOSTESS CASE."

And according to The Associated Press:

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Business
4:02 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Hostess No More: Texas-based Twinkies Maker Closes Shop (Updated)

Twinkies were long thought to last forever. It turns out they may not.
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

Update: Company spokesperson Tammy Taylor tells KUT News that “Hostess Brands had 230 employees in Texas. All facilities are shut down, with the exception of retail outlets, which will remain open for about a week to sell remaining product in going out of business sales.”

Taylor says that “severance will not be paid at this time” to the laid-off employees; “funds for these amounts are not in the ‘Wind Down’ budget that Hostess lenders approved.”

Original post (1:25 p.m.): It’s the end of Hostess Brands, the Texas-headquartered maker of Twinkies, Wonder Bread and Ding Dongs.  This morning Hostess said it filed a motion in bankruptcy court to request permission to liquidate its assets.

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Transportation
3:50 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

American Airlines Fliers Fed Up as Labor Clash Rages

American Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Miami International Airport this month. Reports indicate that American Airlines has canceled somewhere between 2 and 5 percent of flights in recent days, reportedly blaming a surge in pilot sick days and maintenance write-ups by pilots.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:37 am

Pat Henneberry is an airline's dream customer. She flies all week, every week, and buying an $800 ticket so that she can have full flexibility is standard operating procedure. She's an American Airlines platinum customer. But she is fed up with the endless delays and cancellations.

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Sports
8:03 am
Thu September 27, 2012

We Have A Ruling: NFL Referees Are Returning To The Field

They'll be welcomed back by fans: Regular NFL refs will be on the job again starting tonight. (2006 file photo.)
Shaun Best Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 6:34 am

The not-so-long, not-so-much of a national nightmare is over.

Regular NFL officials will be on the field starting with tonight's game now that the league and its referees union have reached tentative agreement on a new, eight-year contract.

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Sports
10:35 am
Wed September 26, 2012

After Uproar, No Signal NFL Refs Will Be Back Soon

Things haven't been going well for these guys: Some of the NFL's replacement referees, during a Sept. 23 game between the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 1:22 pm

Though the nation's football fans — from President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to the average couch quarterback — are begging the two sides to settle their contract dispute so that regular NFL referees can come back to work, there seems to be no clear reason to think that's going to happen in time for this week's games.

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sports
3:49 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

Wide Gap Remains Between NFL And Refs; League Insists On Respect For Subs

Denver Broncos Coach John Fox yells at field judge Jimmy Buchanan during the Broncos' game against Atlanta Monday. Referring to the game, the NFL insisted that players and coaches give replacement referees, and the game, more respect.
Kevin C. Cox Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 5:44 am

Despite complaints from NFL coaches and players, the league and its locked-out officials are no closer to reaching a deal than they were last week, according to reports. The two sides are separated by "significant and serious economic gaps," an anonymous source tells the AP.

A representative of the NFL Referees Association confirmed that talks had taken place, but he would not go into detail, the AP reports.

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University of Texas
2:08 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Worker Rights Consortium to Monitor UT Apparel Factories

Activists demanded that the university ensure products were made in fair labor conditions.
Divya Darsi for KUT News

The University of Texas at Austin is joining the Worker Rights Consortium. The WRC will monitor working conditions of factories that make UT apparel.

The move comes after recent protests by student activists who denounced conditions in these factories and called for closer monitoring.

Tara Doolittle is a spokesperson for UT. She says joining the consortium can offer consumers peace of mind about where UT products come from.

"We are certainly concerned about the working conditions of the folks who make the apparel that bears our name — and we now have two agencies helping us make sure those conditions are what they should be," said Doolittle.

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