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Happy Labor Day Weekend, WonkSquad! Are you spending it like your average American worker, drunk and with your family? Or are you spending it like your average Corporate Fat Cat, drunk and with your secret second family in upstate New York?


As for President Obama, he started Labor Day festivities early last week when he announced his latest executive order. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order bars companies from receiving federal contracts if they've violated certain labor laws in recent years.

As you know, executive orders are the administrative purview of white guy presidents and this is just another example of Kenyan despotism. Republicans and the corporate backers call it the "blacklisting rule" and are outraged at the notion of compliance. Can't contractors just violate labor protections, pay a nominal fine on the small chance they're caught and then move on to the next federal project? This is business. It's not like implementing arbitrary requirements preventing "certain people" from exercising a constitutional right to vote. Obama is preventing corporate people from exercising their incorporated birthright to siphon our tax dollars while ignoring pesky OSHA regulations like those protecting employees from exposure to toxic chemicals.

While the phased in requirement will only cover the "most egregious" violations, it's still a way to reward good corporate actors who don't cut corners with their workforce so that they can underbid a contract.

Unions support this move so of course congressional Republicans will attempt to block its implementation. "Fair" and "Safe" workplaces?? What's next? Participation ribbons and a $12 minimum wage? Shake all our gigantic white-haired heads.

Labor Board Says Volkswagen must bargain with Union. VW is all, 'Nah, we're good'

Earlier this year, the National Labor Relations Board upheld the pro-Union vote of about 160 skilled trade workers at Volkswagen's facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The United Auto Workers is the chosen bargaining representative of these workers, but VW is deciding to go full-American corporation with its efforts to fight unionization efforts. After all, it's the South and there's a proud heritage of hostility to organized labor. Last week, the NLRB ordered VW to recognize the UAW, to stop-dilly-dallying and to get to the fucking bargaining table already.

Volkswagen has filed an appeal against the National Labor Relations Board's order in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the company said in an email to Reuters.

Volkswagen has said earlier that it will go to a U.S. federal appeals court in an effort to keep the UAW union from representing a portion of the company's plant workers in Chattanooga.

In choosing to give the Labor Board the 'high hat,' VW maintains that any organized unit at its Tennessee plant should encompass the entire plant or no one at all. For its part, the UAW points out that it's well-established law that the NLRB requires an appropriate unit for the purpose of certification and not the most appropriate bargaining unit. After being found criminally liable for the whole strategically-lying-about-and-manipulating its emissions systems, maybe VW is just throwing up its hands and deciding to go full outlaw.

More Labor Day briefs to read in your briefs

- Read Dok on how poor private universities with mere billion dollar endowments now have to bargain with lowly grad assistants and possibly provide them living wages.

- Michigan's WWJ AM reports that Habitat for Humanity selected a public high school teacher as recipient of one of its new homes.

Jeff Smith says with two young boys it's been hard to live on his 36000 dollar a year salary which has been frozen due to declines in enrollment [and] state funds he's been sleeping in the dining room of his rented one bedroom

Since we love to talk about how we prioritize education, some would say that Smith's low salary is just more money to spend on the kids. Or, since it's Rick Snyder's Michigan, more money to toss at basically unregulated, for-profit charter schools.

Now go have a weekend, like the labor movement intended.

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