labor

April figures show TN employment higher, wages lower

Tennessee employers added 45,000 jobs across the state in the past year, lowering the state’s seasonally-adjusted jobless rate from 4 percent a year ago to 3.4 percent last month, reports the Times Free Press. But the average hourly wage paid Tennessee workers was lower than a year ago.

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TN February unemployment rate 3.4 percent

Press release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today announced statewide unemployment remained near historic low levels in February with the preliminary rate at 3.4 percent.

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Politico: TN one of six states with no enforcement of minimum wage rules

Excerpt from a Sunday Politico piece:

As Democrats make raising the minimum wage a centerpiece of their 2018 campaigns, and Republicans call for states to handle the issue, both are missing an important problem: Wage laws are poorly enforced, with workers often unable to recover back pay even after the government rules in their favor.

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Senate approves revision in rules for online job contract companies

After a half-hour of debate, the state Senate approved 25-3 Monday night a bill that revises legal restrictions for online “marketplace platform” companies that collect a fee for putting those needing temporary work performed in touch with persons willing to do the job – TaskRabbit, for example.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Bo Watson of Hixson, says it’s a business-friendly update to the realities of today’s technology and increasing use of contract services. Critics contend it undermines protections for both workers and those who hire them.

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TNDP backs ‘Medicare for all,’ $15 minimum wage and medical marijuana

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party

On Saturday, October 28, 2017, the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Democratic Party passed three resolutions supporting progressive policies. First they weighed in on health care, voicing their support for ‘Medicare for All.’

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TN 3.3% unemployment rate is lowest in Southeast

News release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) Commissioner Burns Phillips announces a preliminary unemployment rate of 3.3 percent for August, declining one-tenth of a percent from the previous month. This marks an all-time low for the statewide unemployment rate and August is the seventh consecutive month Tennessee has seen a decline in the statistic.

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Memphis boosts grants to 1968 sanitation strikers to $70K

The Memphis City Council voted Tuesday to increase the grants going to city workers who participated in the city’s 1968 sanitation strike, reports the Commercial Appeal.

The council voted 10-0 to give the 10 retirees and four active employees $70,000 grants, with all taxes paid by the city. The council voted two weeks ago to approve Mayor Jim Strickland’s proposal to give the strikers all-taxes-paid $50,000 grants.

The council also amended the wording of the grants resolution to allow active employees to collect their grants immediately as opposed to when they retire.

TN employment rate dropped to 3.6 percent in June, lowest rate recorded

News release from the governor’s office

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips today announced Tennessee’s unemployment rate for June 2017 was 3.6 percent, the lowest in Tennessee recorded history.

The June 2017 preliminary seasonally adjusted rate surpasses the previous low of 3.7 percent from March 2000. The state has not experienced an unemployment rate below 4.0 percent since it was 3.9 percent in February 2001.

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Surviving Memphis sanitation workers involved in 1968 strike awarded $50K grants

The Memphis City Council voted Tuesday to award $50,000 grants to surviving retired workers who were employed by the city at the time of the historic 1968 sanitation workers strike, reports the Commercial Appeal. The strike was ongoing when civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.

“We can never make up the sacrifices these men made financially,” council chairman Berlin Boyd said as the council pondered the significance of the vote.

The city initially thought 14 strikers were still alive, but discovered one had died and three more came forward and are being verified now, Public Works Director Robert Knecht said. The final number of surviving strikers is thought to be in the 14-20 range.

“We’re going to have to go and do a little research,” Knecht said after the vote.

… If more money is needed or more survivors are found, the council can appropriate more money, several council members said. The council approved $900,000 for the grants from reserves, although council members said they would revisit the amount if more survivors come forward or the city can increase the size of the grants.

The council also approved the creation of a 401(a) retirement plan — the public sector version of a 401(k) — for active sanitation workers. Because of a deal the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) made during the strike, workers receive Social Security benefits instead of a city pension. As the city improved its pension benefits over the years, the gap between the benefits of sanitation workers and other city employees widened.

Jim Neeley, union leader and former state labor commissioner, dies aged 76

James G. “Jim” Neeley, a longtime Tennessee union leader who served as commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development under former Gov. Phil Bredesen, has died at the age of 76.

Before his appointment as commissioner by Bredesen, Neeley was president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council. The organization’s current president, Billy Dycus, notes he also served as labor commissioner under former Gov. Ray Blanton, in this statement issued Thursday following Neeley’s death late Wednesday evening.

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