Following in the footsteps of Seattle, San Francisco and Oakland, the Los Angeles City Council voted today to increase its minimum wage to $15/hour by 2020. The NYTimes is calling this “perhaps the most significant victory so far in the national push to raise the minimum wage.”
“The effects here will be the biggest by far,” said Michael Reich, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was commissioned by city leaders here to conduct several studies on the potential effects of a minimum-wage increase. “The proposal will bring wages up in a way we haven’t seen since the 1960s. There’s a sense spreading that this is the new norm, especially in areas that have high costs of housing.”
Tuesday’s vote could set off a wave of minimum wage increases across Southern California, and the groups pressing for the increases say the new pay scales would change the way of life for the region’s vast low-wage work force.
Read more at the New York Times.
Photo by Denis Bocquet via flickr (CC-BY).
On May 22nd, connect with both global labor history and the ongoing fight for worker justice in this country when the Murphy Institute hosts a screening of Blood Fruit, the award-winning film documentary about the historic 1984 South African anti-apartheid labor strike. Director Sinead O’Brien and subjects from the film who staged the historic strike will be on hand, as will Kendall Fells, organizing director of Fight for $15. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Joseph S. Murphy Institute Scholarship for Diversity in Labor.
Tickets available here.
[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5tIr45nmxw] Continue reading Film Screening to Raise Funds for Diversity Scholarship
By Joshua Freeman
In a Labor Day op-ed article in the NY Daily News, I argued that even as unions have suffered a series of setbacks and continue to slip in the percentage of workers they represent, labor issues are more prominent now than at any time in the recent past. What we are seeing might be called the re-emergence of “the labor question.” (New York is somewhat exceptional because, as the Murphy Institute’s Ruth Milkman and Stephanie Luce show in a forthcoming study reported in The New York Times, union membership in the city has been rising significantly of late.)
“The labor question” was once a common term, widely used in the early 20th century. On the simplest level, it asked how orderly relations could be maintained between employers and employees, preventing the outbursts of labor strife that had become common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Continue reading The Labor Question
Kafui Attoh is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at the Murphy Institute.
The World Cup is upon us! All praise be to FIFA! In less than a week, millions of people worldwide will tune into what promises to be the largest global bread and circus event of the year. Indeed, an estimated half a million fans will descend on Brazil itself — no doubt, to partake in the spectacle first hand. As is now common with these mega events, the World Cup boasts its own theme song — a predictably forgettable anthem by J-Lo and Pitbull called “We Are One (Ole Ola).” It will also have its own cuddly mascot — Fuleco, an anime-inspired “three-banded Armadillo.” Reportedly, Fuleco is modeled on an endangered species native to Brazil.
With all the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster, the World Cup is a big deal. For the host nation, the finances alone are absurd. Since “winning” the right to host the tournament seven years ago, Brazil has spent $11.3 billion on Cup related infrastructure projects. Many of these projects — despite the desperate need for hospitals and better transit — have been limited to new arenas and new stadiums. An additional $800 million has been spent on security alone as roughly 170,000 security personnel have been dispatched across the country to regulate crowds and secure arenas. “Ordem without Progresso,” as Brazilians might say.
Continue reading The World Cup: Panem et Circenses et Transit (Killjoy Alert!)