Chris Hayes Replaces Ed Schultz; Perez Is Obama’s Labor Pick; House Nixes $10.10 Minimum Wage

Mike Elk

In These Times alum Chris Hayes, pictured speaking at the Common Good in July, will take over Ed Schultz's coveted 8 p.m. weeknight spot on MSNBC.

Many in orga­nized labor lament­ed the announce­ment last week that union cham­pi­on Ed Schultzwho in 2011 trans­plant­ed his show to Wis­con­sin to cov­er labor protestsis leav­ing his 8 p.m. week­night times­lot on MSNBC for a 5 p.m.-to‑7 p.m. times­lot on the week­ends. In one sig­nal of the labor and pro­gres­sive sup­port for Schultz, the Pro­gres­sive Change Cam­paign Com­mit­tee has launched a thank-you card campaign.

But pro­gres­sives also cheered the news that In These Times alum­nus Chris Hayes will be mov­ing into Schultz’s 8 p.m. week­night spot. We at In These Times would like to con­grat­u­late Chris, who has proven ded­i­cat­ed to rep­re­sent­ing the voic­es of work­ers, both in his career at ITT and beyond. (The only ques­tion we have is what Bhaskar Sunkara will call his MSNBC show when it’s inevitably offered.)

Today, Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma offi­cial­ly nom­i­nat­ed Assis­tant Attor­ney Gen­er­al for Civ­il Rights Thomas Perez for Sec­re­tary of Labor. The pick was wide­ly expect­ed, and many in orga­nized labor have already expressed excite­ment. From Moth­er Jones:

If he were to be picked, I think he would be an excel­lent labor sec­re­tary,” says Eliseo Med­i­na, trea­sur­er of the Ser­vice Employ­ees Inter­na­tion­al Union. This is a guy who has been deal­ing with issues that real­ly mat­ter to work­ing peo­ple in this country.”

When Perez was nom­i­nat­ed to head the Depart­ment of Jus­tice’s civ­il rights divi­sion, some con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans sought to block his con­fir­ma­tion over since dis­cred­it­ed alle­ga­tions regard­ing a vot­er intim­i­da­tion case involv­ing the New Black Pan­ther Par­ty and Perez’s advo­ca­cy on behalf of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants. Dur­ing the Bush years, the divi­sion had been marred by par­ti­san pol­i­tics and declin­ing civ­il rights enforce­ment. But since Perez took the helm, the divi­sion has blocked par­ti­san vot­ing schemes, cracked down on police bru­tal­i­ty, pro­tect­ed gay and les­bian stu­dents from harass­ment, sued anti-immi­grant Ari­zona sher­iff Joe Arpaio for racial pro­fil­ing, stood up against Islam­o­pho­bia, and forced the two largest fair-hous­ing set­tle­ments in his­to­ry from banks that dis­crim­i­nat­ed against minor­i­ty homeowners.

But Perez is like­ly to have trou­ble win­ning over Sen­ate Repub­li­cans. The House GOP vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly on Fri­day against rais­ing the min­i­mum wage. From the web­site of the House Com­mit­tee on Edu­ca­tion and Work­force Democ­rats:

Today, House Repub­li­cans vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly against rais­ing the nation’s min­i­mum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2015. The vote came as part of a final amend­ment to a bill that would harm access to job train­ing and edu­ca­tion pro­grams for low-income Amer­i­cans. The min­i­mum wage amend­ment failed on a 184 to 233 vote, with all 227 Repub­li­can mem­bers vot­ing no’.

Even while cor­po­rate prof­its soar and the stock mar­ket reach­es new highs, the work­ing poor con­tin­ue to fall fur­ther and fur­ther behind,” said Rep. George Miller (D‑Calif.), the author of the amend­ment and the bill to raise the min­i­mum wage. If the Repub­li­cans want to take away a pri­or­i­ty of ser­vice for low income Amer­i­cans who want to learn new skills for a bet­ter job and a bet­ter life, the least we can do is make sure these work­ers get a decent wage.”

A must-read fea­ture in the Huff­in­g­ton Post Cana­da sheds light on why so many mil­len­ni­als are will­ing to quit their jobs, even in a tough econ­o­my. From the Huff­in­g­ton Post Cana­da:

Mil­len­ni­als, loose­ly defined as those born after 1980, aren’t afraid of quit­ting their jobs (full dis­clo­sure: I am one). Accord­ing to the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics, Gen­er­a­tion Y is expect­ed to stay in jobs for just over two years, about half the amount of time spent by the cur­rent aver­age work­er. Sev­en­ty per cent of recent grad­u­ates report­ed leav­ing their first jobs with­in two years, accord­ing to Experience.com’s recent Life After Col­lege” sur­vey. While this ten­den­cy to flee may seem baf­fling – con­sid­er­ing that young peo­ple grad­u­at­ed into a job mar­ket dev­as­tat­ed by the 2007 – 2008 finan­cial down­turn and are increas­ing­ly tak­ing on more stu­dent debt – eco­nom­ic tur­moil actu­al­ly helped spawn a gen­er­a­tion of quit­ters. Many Mil­len­ni­als are forced to take jobs out­side their field of study with which they quick­ly grow impa­tient and leave at the next best oppor­tu­ni­ty. Remem­ber, this is a gen­er­a­tion that has no com­pa­ny loy­al­ty and was raised by boomer par­ents who told them you can be what­ev­er you want to be.” Finan­cial tur­moil is just a bump on the road to the dream job they deserve.

Speak­ing of new jobs, the mak­er of the infa­mous 47 per­cent” video Scott Prouty said he is like­ly to take a job with the Unit­ed Steel­work­ers Union. From the Huff­in­g­ton Post:

Steel­work­ers Pres­i­dent Leo Ger­ard said the union met Prouty through Charles Ker­naghan, a labor rights activist who heads the Insti­tute for Glob­al Labour and Human Rights, head­quar­tered in Pitts­burgh. Prouty had got­ten in touch with Ker­naghan, who’d been research­ing Bain Cap­i­tal and out­sourc­ing as Prouty anony­mous­ly dis­sem­i­nat­ed his video last year. Ger­ard said that union offi­cials met with Prouty at the pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in Jan­u­ary, before the video­g­ra­ph­er was will­ing to go public.

Ger­ard explained his respect for Prouty, para­phras­ing a quote from Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma that one voice can change a room, that room a city, that city a state, and so on. I think Scott Prouty is one voice that changed the coun­try,” Ger­ard said.

He’s going to come work for us,” Ger­ard went on. We’re going to sit down and talk. He has lots of skills, and we’ll try to put him in a place where he can use the skills he’s got.”

Mike Elk wrote for In These Times and its labor blog, Work­ing In These Times, from 2010 to 2014. He is cur­rent­ly a labor reporter at Politico.
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