In NYC and Long Island we discuss the changing role of the NLRA on its 80th anniversary. A major conference happened last weekend to both celebrate the NLRA and consider its future. At the same time, workers in low wage jobs continue a full-court press for a $15 per hour minimum wage. We speak to workers involved in the campaign who rallied on April 15th.
NLRA at 80
The National Labor Relations Act has now been around for 80 years. A panel of academics from the Cornell School of Industrial Relations and the Workers Institute will examine how the role of the NLRB has changed over the years. Originally the Board’s function was to promote collective bargaining and ensure that workers could readily form labor unions, but over time the Board became politicized and beset by bureaucracy workers and unions sought out other venues in which to mediate grievances with employers. Added to that, many workers originally excluded from coverage under the national labor Relations Act, such as farmworkers, were not entitled to go the NLRB to address their grievances. The Senate’s frequent political maneuvering of refusing to approve a president’s choices for the board has also stymied the board’s ability to carry out its mission. We also discuss the upcoming conference in NYC that took place April 17th and 18th.
Fight for $15
A year ago the demands of low wage workers for a $15.00 per hour minimum wage seemed like pie in the sky. But with constant pressure the dam has cracked a little. Walmart and McDonalds have raised their minimum wages and other retailers are following the lead, several municipalities raised local minimum wage rates or passed living wage legislation, the Port Authority has ordered contractors at NYC area airports to increase wages. However, most of these minimum wage increases are in the $10.00 per hour range. Our guests are an NYU student and an airport worker, who make out a compelling case for $15.00 per hour minimum wage, and describe what it’s like for even a single person to try and live on $10.00 an hour.