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Labor Report

VotingElection Impacts

Electing local and statewide politicians wasn’t the only objective in yesterday’s General Election: minimum wage, right-to-work, and other issues were also decided.

Voters in Tacoma, Wash., and Portland, Ore., each decided minimum wage issues, while Kentucky moved closer to becoming another right-to-work state.

Read more in The American Prospect.

Duquesne Undoing

I was unhappy to learn this week how Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, jettisoned its English Department adjuncts for what is looking more and more like a labor issue.Duquesne

As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, the adjunct lecturers were in the process of forming a union and the Dukes said, um, no.

“The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Duquesne to recognize the union, formed in an election in 2012 and covering about 125 people. Duquesne is appealing that and says the NLRB lacks jurisdiction given Duquesne's religious mission as a church-operated school,” the PG’s Bill Schackner reported.

In These Times had its own take on the university’s decision:

“Clint Benjamin, one of the adjuncts who was threatened in Duquesne’s appeal to the Board, and was included in the English Department layoffs, explained that ‘there is no doubt in mind that these firings were due to my and others’ vocal union support. Duquesne has been trying to do ‘end arounds’ and manufacture crises since they got wind of our efforts.’ Benjamin now has to deal with the reality that starting in January he will be losing half his income, and that it’s likely too late to search for other employment to fill the gap,” Moshe Marvit explained.

The United Steelworkers has been working to help the adjunct English professors become an organized unit, and said it believes the university’s action was anti-labor.

PA UnemploymentUnemployment

The weirdness that continues in monthly joblessness reports can be underlined with a county-by-county unemployment rate comparison.

While Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate went from 5.4 percent to 5.3 percent in September, 48 of the commonwealth’s counties suffered an increase in unemployment while nine counties went down and 10 remained the same.

Here are the 10 highest county unemployment rates, as of September:

1.  Forest County - 7.5 percent
2.  Fayette County - 7.4 percent
3.  Armstrong County - 7.2 percent
4.  Cameron County - 7.0 percent
5.  Philadelphia County - 6.9 percent
6.  Clinton and Fulton counties - 6.8 percent
7.  Potter and Somerset counties - 6.7 percent
8.  Cambria, Clearfield, Sullivan counties - 6.6 percent
9.  Jefferson and Tioga counties - 6.5 percent
10.  Lycoming and Monroe counties - 6.4 percent

Chester and Centre counties had the lowest rates in the state at 3.7 percent.