Monthly Archives: December 2016

There’s some really good news for low-wage workers this weekend

By Max Ehrenfreund

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 15:  Demonstrators gather in front of a McDonald's restaurant to call for an increase in minimum wage on April 15, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The demonstration was one  of many held nationwide to draw attention to the cause.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Demonstrators in front of a McDonald’s restaurant call for an increase in minimum wage on April 15, 2015, in Chicago. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It has been a difficult year for the left politically, but at least with respect to the minimum wage, progressive activists had major victories — including in a couple of very red states.

As a result, the minimum wage will increase in 19 states as 2016 comes to a close, according to figures compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Two more states and the District of Columbia will raise the minimum later in the new year.

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The greatest increase will apply to companies in New York City with at least 10 employees. Minimum-wage workers at these businesses will receive a raise of $2 an hour on Saturday as the floor increases from $9 to $11. More-modest increases will apply to smaller firms in New York City and companies elsewhere in the state.

Workers also will receive substantial raises in states carried by President-elect Donald Trump. In Arizona, the hourly minimum will increase from $8.05 to $10. The floor will increase from $7.50 to $9 in Maine, from $8.50 to $8.90 in Michigan and from $8 to $8.50 in Arkansas.


[Why raising the minimum wage in Seattle did little to help workers, according to a new study]

Those increases follow a series of convincing wins for labor on the issue in Republican territory. Polling by the Public Religion Research Institute last year found that 3 in 5 Republicans and nearly 3 in 4 independent voters would support increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

In 2014, for instance, voters approved increases in Alaska, Nebraska and South Dakota. In Arizona in November, voters approved an initiative …read more

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The public is being kept in the dark about Trump’s deal with Carrier

By Danielle Paquette

President-elect Donald Trump talks with workers during a visit to the Carrier factory, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Indianapolis, Ind. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President-elect Donald Trump talks with workers during a visit to the Carrier factory in Indianapolis. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

A month after President-elect Donald Trump announced a deal with air conditioning company Carrier to save hundreds of U.S. factory jobs that were slated for Mexico, officials say the agreement has yet to be finalized, and they have released few details about its terms.

The state of Indiana, where the affected jobs are located, agreed to give Carrier up to $7 million in tax credits over 10 years to keep the facility open. Trump and Mike Pence — Indiana’s Republican governor and the vice president-elect — have touted the deal as a victory for their incoming administration and an example of how they’ll jump-start the economy.

However, specifics have been elusive. Trump and the leader of the union that represents the Carrier workers have clashed over the number of jobs saved. It is also unclear whether the company received any federal concessions.

In response to an open-records request from The Washington Post, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, a state agency chaired by Pence, said Indiana law allows it to withhold information until a contract is finalized. They’ve taken this route “to enable effective negotiations on behalf of Hoosiers,” wrote Chris Cotterill, the IEDC’s general counsel, saying it will take up to three months to finish terms of the pact.

Cotterill said the state will eventually publish the terms, but they would not give The Post any record of Trump’s involvement in the deal.

Jonathan Bruno, a legal scholar at Harvard University, said the law does not stop the state from providing such records before a final deal, but it does give the option.

“It’s hard to defend the continued secrecy of the deal,” Bruno wrote in an email. “Pence et al. are trying to have it both ways — …read more

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What it’s like to be expelled from Russia with your toddler and dog

By Donna Scaramastra Gorman In February 2001, when the street corners and sidewalks of Moscow were still piled high with dirty, gray snow, FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested near his Virginia home and charged with espionage, accused of passing secrets to the Russians. His arrest made the news, as did the U.S. government’s decision to expel 50 Russian diplomats […] …read more

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