Why the Minimum Wage Orthodoxy Reigns Supreme

September 18, 2014
By Oren M. Levin-Waldman

In his blockbuster book Capital in the Twenty-First Century Thomas Piketty observes that the history of the distribution of wealth has always been deeply political and cannot be reduced to so-called neutral economic mechanisms. But much of this has been obscured by the economic discipline’s “childish passion for mathematics,” an obsession that has only served to create the appearance of being scientific, without having to answer the far more complex question posed by the real world in which we live. The same critique, however, applies to the minimum wage debate.

Looking Through A Limited Scope

September 18, 2014
By  Salvatore J. Armao, CPA/PFS, CFP, CFE, CGMA

As a Fiduciary, would you feel comfortable if your benefit plan’s independent auditor did not apply any auditing procedures to your plan’s investments?  Do you think the plan’s participants would be happy to know that the plan’s investments were not being audited by the plan’s independent auditor?

NJ Pension Fund Investigation Needed Says AFL-CIO

September 16, 2014
By Stephanie West

Trenton, NJ - The New Jersey State AFL-CIO has filed a complaint with the State Ethics Commission calling for an investigation into lucrative pension fund management contracts awarded to top political donors to Gov. Chris Christie and the Republican Party.

Communication Workers Ratify Contract with Frontier

September 4, 2014
By Neal Tepel

Charleston, West Virginia - Frontier Communications and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) announced on August 29th, that West Virginia locals have ratified the labor agreement the two parties reached on August 3rd. The new contract will expire August 2017 and over 1,500 union members will be covered by the agreement.

AG Recovers $17 Million for Cheated Workers

September 4, 2014
By Neal Tepel

New York, NY - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a Labor Day report containing highlights of his office’s labor enforcement work over the past three years. Since Attorney General Schneiderman took office in January 2011, his Labor Bureau has successfully brought cases against employers that cheated their workers out of wages and otherwise violated state labor laws, returning over $17 million in restitution to almost 14,000 workers and recovering more than $2 million in restitution and penalties for the state.

Cablevision’s Union-Busting Must be Addressed

September 3, 2014
By Neal Tepel, LaborPress Editorial

 In January 2012, 285 Brooklyn Cablevision workers voted to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1109. Three years ago these Brooklyn Cablevision technicians stood together and faced intimidation and harassment by Cablevision in order to be members of a union. Yes, it’s been three years that Cablevision refuses to settle a fair contract. Instead of providing a decent wage with dignity and respect, Cablevision  has carried out a vicious union busting campaign that New Yorkers have not seen it decades. 

Carpenters Sue State on Roosevelt Island Wages

September 2, 2014
By Steven Wishnia

Accusing it of authorizing illegally low wages for construction workers on Roosevelt Island, the New York City District Council of Carpenters has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Labor.

The suit, filed Aug. 22 in state Supreme Court, alleges that the department wrongly classified the Riverwalk 7 building on the island as a private project where contractors don’t have to pay the prevailing wage. It also names as defendants the developers, the Hudson Companies and the Related Companies; the contractor, Monadnock Construction; and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation.

LA Minimum Wage Increase Shows the Way

September 2, 2014
By Neal Tepel, LaborPress Editorial

Los Angeles, California – The fight to raise the minimum wage in fast food stores has reached California. Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti has recommended the raising of the city’s minimum wage by $4.25 and plans to index it to inflation. His goal is to reach a $15 minimum for all workers. Clearly the LA initiative demonstrates the success of the fast-food workers’ movement. For two years, fast-food workers have been calling for $15 an hour and a union—it's an amount that will allow them to support their families and lift communities across America.

A Strategic Political Argument for the Minimum Wage

September 1, 2014
By Oren M. Levin-Waldman

The minimum wage has long been thought of as an issue that only affects the low-wage labor market, i.e. the working poor. Broader construction of the minimum wage population, however, shows that not to be the case. When the minimum wage labor market is defined as the effective minimum wage population — those who earn around the minimum rather than those who earn the statutory minimum — the proportion earning an effective minimum wage is considerably larger.

Millions Wasted at NYS Housing Trust Fund

August 29, 2014
By Stephanie West

Albany, NY - New York State’s Low Income Housing Trust Fund program is meant to help alleviate New York’s affordable housing shortage, but it is beset by avoidable delays that keep thousands of applicants waiting months on end, according to an audit by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

Bank of America Settlement for $16.65 Billion

August 27, 2014
By Neal Tepel

New York, NY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America for their misconduct that led to the crash of the housing market.

NYS Common Retirement Fund Rises

August 22, 2014
By Stephanie West

The New York State Common Retirement Fund’s (Fund) value grew to an estimated $180.7 billion in the first quarter ending June 30, 2014. The Fund had ended the state’s Fiscal Year 2014 on March 31 with a value of $176.8 billion. The net growth in the value of the fund reflects earnings over the quarter, offset by benefit payments.

NYC Economy Shows Fast Growth

August 19, 2014
By Stephanie West

New York, NY – While unemployment remains stuck at 7.9 percent in New York City, the economy has added tens of thousands of jobs in the private sector, pointing to a firmer labor market, stronger tax revenues and a more stable economy.

Disney Workers Ratify Contract

August 13, 2014
By Stephanie West

Members of the Service Trades Council Union ratified a new agreement with the Walt Disney World Resort in a vote on August 1. Workers came to a tentative agreement with the resort late on July 18. The new contract covers 21,000 workers, more than 60% of whom are represented by UNITE HERE Local 737 and UNITE HERE Local 362 in Orlando. Many UNITE HERE custodians, housekeepers, attractions attendants, and food and beverage employees participated in union negotiations for their first time.

Top 10 Tax Breaks You'll Miss in 2014

August 7, 2014
By Salvatore J. Armao, CPA/PFS, CFP, CFE, CGMA
Managing Partner, Armao LLP

Who’s thinking about taxes during the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer? Well, at Armao LLP, we are...and so should you!

You probably didn't notice, but when the clock struck midnight on December 31, 2013, a number of popular tax benefits, commonly included in the list of provisions referred to as "tax extenders" expired.

Union Retirees Urged to "Go on the Offense"

August 5, 2014
By Stephanie West

Los Angeles, California - There has never been a time like this for the labor movement, AFT President Randi Weingarten told the opening session of the AFT Retirees Conference on July 10. "People want a union if they can get it," she said, noting that the fight for collective bargaining and retirement security is one that we can't do alone anymore.

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