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In November, 66 percent of Albuquerque voters passed a measure to raise the minimum wage to $8.50, tie it to inflation, and raise the minimum wage for tipped workers as well. Within a week, the city council had started thinking about repealing the measure. Well, it's still in effect. But the city isn't enforcing the minimum wage law.
[T]he requirements of the ordinance “may also be enforced by the City Attorney.”

City attorney, David Tourek says he’s not enforcing it saying, “without the necessary authorization and necessary resources being provided by Council, the City Attorney's Office will not be initiating civil lawsuits."

Labor attorney Dan Faber says it’s up to individual workers being shortchanged to sue their employer.

Fantastic. That'll help.

Cases like this are why we need to tell Congress to pass President Obama's proposed increase to the minimum wage.

And more:

  • Hotel workers fired by the Hyatt Regency Baltimore for their union activism are back on the job after a settlement. And speaking of back on the job, workers at HealthBridge nursing homes will supposedly be back on the job on March 3 after HealthBridge dragged its heels all the way to the Supreme Court—twice!—to avoid an injunction ordering the company to reinstate the workers.
  • Curious about the real-life labor story that may have been behind the famous invocation against falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater? Corey Robin has it.
  • While CNN focused on passengers on that Carnival cruise ship, Josh Eidelson reminds us that the cruise ship's workers certainly had it far worse. In fact, their treatment on working ships is appalling:
    The international law governing cruise workers allows them to be worked up to 77 hours a week for as little as $600 a month. As Klein notes, that comes to less than $2 an hour. But in reality, he said, “a worker who’s slated as supposedly working 11 hours is very likely working 13 or 14,” and may go “10 or 12 months without a day off.”

    Isn’t that illegal? Sort of. Because Carnival and other top cruise lines operating in the U.S. fly the flags of other countries, they aren’t bound by most American labor laws (there are exceptions, including workplace injury cases). And while international convention sets bare minimums like the $600 per month wage, Klein says, “the enforcement of them depends on the country that regulates the ship.” Klein added that Carnival, the industry leader, is also “the leader in knowing how to keep your costs of worker treatment to a minimum.”

  • Argument against earned sick leave ordinance = every argument against every worker protection since the dawn of time.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's an untold story (5+ / 0-)

    Wish one of the networks would do a special on that while this story is still fresh in everyone's mind. I bet there's a lot of dirty laundry in the cruise business.

  •  By not enforcing a law (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, JesseCW, Larsstephens, Lujane

    that is in effect, it seems as if they're TRYING to get the city sued.

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” ~ John Steinbeck

    by susanthe on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:05:58 PM PST

    •  susan - does the City have an affirmative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      obligation to enforce the law? The text notes that the City Attorney "may" enforce the statute. Given that employees have multiple remedies to obtain their legally required pay I wonder if the City has any exposure? If you were going to sue someone why not the employer who stiffed the worker?

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:20:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because the worker who sues their employer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus, progressivevoice

        will lose their fucking job.

        Because that's how the real world works.

        That's why we have a fucking labor department, instead of just leaving it up to workers to spend their time in an endless series of lawsuits against abusive employers.

        income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

        by JesseCW on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:33:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We need to tell Congress that 9 bucks is nowhere (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Lujane

    near enough.

    The President ran five years ago on a hike to 9.50.  

    From those who actually do have to settle for fucking crumbs - please stop trying to make sure those crumbs are small.

    You're not helping when you uncritically cheer for an effort to raise the minimum wage to level that is still near historic lows and to then lock it in.

    You're hurting - and what's more, you're hurting people who have already been hurt enough.

    income gains to the top 1% from 2009 to 2011 were 121% of all income increases. How did that happen? Incomes to the bottom 99% fell by 0.4%

    by JesseCW on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:31:19 PM PST

  •  Maritime labor (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax, Lujane, wintergreen8694

    Maritime labor law is very different from shoreside labor law.  A few years ago U.S. mariners had a SIU union contract where they were paid less than minimum wage when outside the U.S. 3 mile limit.  MarIners get no sick leave, but do get unearned wages when unfit for duty until the end of the ship's voyage and the shipowner must pay for medical care...then nothing after the voyage end and often no job to return to.  There is no workmanship comp, but there is an unlimited right to sue for U.S. mariners.   Mariners may be stranded in a port if the shipowner goes bust with wages, no food, no transport home.

    The foreign stewards on the cruise ships depend on tips for a decent living in their home countries.  Did the Carnaval passengers give tips to the crew they praised?  Did Carnaval Cruise Line provide the tip income to the stewards?  Has Carnaval flown them all home during this extensive repair period (with no pay while not working), and will Carnaval rehire them?

  •  NM Lobos radio station KKKOB probably told them (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    congenitalefty, Lujane, unfangus

    not to.

    as this develops local GOP will be working the local blowhards to  support the no-enforcement.

    students at UNM could protest their university's endorsement of that shit, and more.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:46:53 PM PST

  •  We should be pushing (0+ / 0-)

    minimum wage increases (or better yet, living wages) at all levels. There are a lot a blue states where Republican control and the filibuster aren't an issue. We should be making progress there - preferably for more than 9 bucks.

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. Notes on a Theory

    by David Kaib on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:29:26 PM PST

  •  Jobs available (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this, but I was just looking at a website for something I am buying and noticed that they are hiring:  

    We're Hiring:
    Just wanted to let you know as well that we're currently hiring for a couple all-star candidates to join our growing team as: Vice President - Sales; National Key Account Manager, East; National Key Account Manager, Midwest; Brand Ambassadors, across the nation. More info at
    Just thought I'd pass it along.  If there is a better place to let people know about this, please let me know or feel free to post it yourself.
  •  Republican Mayor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here in ABQ, the mayor is a businessman republican type. He never wanted the raise and now he's decided he's just not going to enforce it. The mayor has influence over the city attorney. Plus, the mayoral election is in October of this year.

    "This site's unofficial motto used to be "more and better Democrats", but we've gradually evolved it to "better Democrats".- Kos,11/29/2011.

    by progressivevoice on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:46:36 PM PST

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