Additionally, New York is trying to fix a decades-old wage gap.
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Tens of thousands of nurses on strike
On September 1, 15,000 nurses announced they would strike, after months of unsuccessful negotiations between employers and members of the Minnesota Nurses Association. The strike is the largest nurses’ strike in U.S. history and has affected more than a dozen hospitals, according to the Minnesota Reformer.
Union nurses are demanding a 30% increase in wages and benefits, an offer opposed by hospital administrators with a 10% increase over three years. The offer, hospital officials said, would be the biggest raise for nurses in more than 15 years. Finding themselves at an impasse, the union announced a strike on 12 September.
Meanwhile, on the West Coast, 22,000 nurses who work for Kaiser facilities staged a strike on September 1, marking the first day of their contract ending, KALW reports. The picketing nurses, who are part of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU), are demanding that Kaiser meet minimum staffing guidelines and provide both safer patient care as well as health and safety provisions for nurses.
These two major nursing strikes are not isolated incidents. Spotlight Pennsylvania reports that nursing home nurses represented by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania plan to strike if their demands for higher wages and better benefits to retain workers are not met. On Sept. 6, nurses at the University of Wisconsin also announced their plans for a 3-day strike for better working conditions, ABC-WISN reports.
Who deserves social assistance? White American responses depend on race
A A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that white Americans are less likely to support welfare if they think more black people receive it. Although this conclusion has been drawn from many observational studies, this study implements randomized inference.
In one finding, white participants estimated that about 38% of welfare recipients were black. Black respondents put that number at 35%. In fact, about 21% of welfare recipients are black.
The researchers also found that simply asking white participants to think about the racial makeup of welfare recipients made them less supportive of welfare policies. Meanwhile, black recipients generally did not meaningfully consider race when forming opinions about welfare.
Even seeing hard data on well-being, the study showed, did little to sway white participants. The authors say this latest finding adds to a body of research examining whether more factual information — particularly race-related information — can change attitudes about workplace discrimination or other policy debates. related.
New York Farm Labor Wage Commission recommends lowering overtime threshold
On September 6, the New York State Agricultural Labor Wages Council recommended that the New York Department of Labor lower the threshold for agricultural workers to earn overtime from 60 hours to 40 hours, Documented reports. Currently, farm workers do not earn overtime pay until they reach the 60-hour-week mark.
In 1935, a sweeping set of labor laws passed under the National Labor Relations Act helped protect the right of millions of American workers to unionize in the face of the Great Depression. Collective bargaining could help workers earn higher wages and also better working conditions. But domestic workers and agricultural workers were excluded from this historic movement.
Nearly a century later, New York State has attempted to expand the scope of its own labor laws. Many of the policies the state still operates on are a carbon copy of Jim Crow-era law. The first major change came in 2019, under the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, which finally allowed farmworkers to unionize. Last year, the state saw its first farm workers’ union, formed by workers at Pindar Vineyards on Long Island, as reported by the Suffolk Times.
With the recommendation of the Farm Labor Wages Board, the next major change could be coming soon. While the Labor Board has 45 days to amend or outright reject the policy, the recommendation has drawn criticism from producers and politicians on both sides of the aisle, according to WXHC analysis. Many growers have noted that the pandemic has already increased operating costs. Critics also cited a study by Cornell University agricultural economist Chris Wolf that found a majority of farm workers would leave the state for other seasonal work if their hours were reduced.
Marielle Argueza is an intern at INN/Columbia Journalism School in Next City for Summer-Fall 2022. She is a New York-based journalist with over ten years of experience. His beats have included education, immigration, labor, criminal justice and climate. Her work in K-12 education is award-winning and she has been recognized multiple times by the California News Publishers Association. She is a recent graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where she was a Toni Stabile Investigative Fellow. While earning her master’s degree, she relied on her extensive knowledge of local journalism to report stories at the city, state and country level. Her work includes a story about Harlem’s last assisted living facility for people living with HIV/AIDS; a profile on New York State’s first Farmers Union; and a database of deaths in the Milwaukee County Jail. She is also the recipient of other scholarships and fellowships from several notable organizations in the news industry, including the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN), ProPublica, and the Journalism and Women Symposium ( JAWS).