KFC Allegedly Fires Woman for Being Homeless; AFL-CIO Revamped; Cheating Scandal in Atlanta

Mike Elk

A KFC franchise has reportedly fired a Mississippi woman after learning she was homeless. From the Clarion Ledger:

A document signed by that location’s general manager on March 12 confirms Jasica had been hired to perform prep work” and would receive a paycheck every two weeks.

But when Jasica reported for duty Monday, franchise owner Chesley Ruff withdrew the job offer upon learning she lived at the Salvation Army.

He told me to come back when I had an address and transportation,” Jasica recalled. But how am I supposed to get all that without a job?”

Friday, former Atlanta School Superintendent Dr. Beverly Hall was indicted in connection with one of the largest standardized cheating test scandals in the nation. From the New York Times:

The grand jury also indicted 34 teachers and administrators in addition to Dr. Hall, who resigned in 2011 just before results of an investigation into the scandal was released. It recommended $7.5 million bond for Dr. Hall, who could face up to 45 years in prison.

In a list of 65 charges against the educators that includes influencing witnesses, theft by taking, conspiracy and making false statements, Fulton County prosecutors painted a picture of a decade-long conspiracy that involved awarding bonuses connected to improving scores on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, the state’s main test of core academic subjects for elementary and middle schools, and a culture where, in some schools, cheating was an acceptable way to get them.

News also broke this Friday that business and labor groups are near reaching a deal on a guest workers program as a part of immigration reform. From the New York Times:

In the negotiations, officials said, business had pushed to pay guest workers the minimum wage, while the labor negotiations were demanding they be paid the median wage in the industries in which they would work.

Two officials involved in the talks said there was a tentative agreement for guest workers to be paid the prevailing industry wage previously used in the guest worker program. These officials said that employers who experienced a labor shortage even after the national guest worker quota was filled could request a safety valve” exemption to bring in workers, but at a higher wage rate than the prevailing wage while also paying additional fees.

The AFL-CIO has announced plans to kick into survival mode. From the Washington Post:

The new restructuring initiative would culminate in September, when the AFL-CIO holds its convention in Los Angeles. Over the next six months, Trumka said, committees of rank-and-file workers, young people, academicians and representatives from key black and Hispanic groups, religious organizations and other activists will explore new directions for labor.

Instead of saying to our community partners and the civil rights movement or the Latino movement, That’s your issue and this is my issue,’ they’re going to be our issues, and we’re going to work together,” Trumka said.

Despite the UPS contract being the largest private sector union contract in the country, it has gotten little media coverage. From Labor Notes:

Bargaining is nearing a settlement on the largest private-sector union contract in the U.S., for nearly 250,000 Teamsters at UPS.

The current agreement expires July 31 but UPS wants an early agreement to keep FedEx from luring away customers scared about a possible strike. And union bargainer Ken Hall is intent on accommodating that request.

In 1997, the Teamsters won a two-week strike. Since then, the union has settled every agreement early, in 2007 by half a year. Union bargainers made concessions in that last contract, at a time of record UPS profits.

At the outset of bargaining in September, Hall declared firmly there would be no agreement without addressing Big Brown’s escalating harassment of workers.

This month, he says the same but still gives no specifics about what the union is seeking. Most of the union’s statements have focused instead on the company’s dramatic demand that workers pay a portion of health premiums, $90 a week for family coverage. Hall declares the union won’t concede 9 cents.

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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