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Xmas presentAs the 2013 legislative session begins to move toward adjournment, it looks like the General Assembly is taking its practice of pulling complex and controversial bills out of thin air and passing them before anyone even has time to respond to the next level. Among today’s examples: a giant new bill to rewrite dozens of state regulations — many dealing with important environmental protections.

Today, the Senate Rules Committee took up House Bill 74. Prior to the meeting, the bill was a modest three-page  proposal entitled “Periodic Review and Expiration of Rules.” After the meeting it was a 56 page monster with scores of separate sections entitled the “Regulatory Reform Act of 2013.” Don’t look for it online though — things are moving so fast the General Assembly website hasn’t even caught up yet. Read More

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Liz Schuler, Secretary Treasurer of the AFL-CIO

Some seats still remain for next Monday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation with Liz Shuler, Secretary-Treasuer of the AFL-CIO. Shuler will discuss the ongoing legislative assault on workers and the right to unionize (both in North Carolina and nationally) and what it has meant for American working people.

Don’t miss this important opportunity to hear from this powerful and important voice for working families.

When: Monday, March 4, at 12:30 p.m. — (Note later than usual start – box lunches will be available at 12:15 p.m).

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. at the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets.

Cost: $10 – includes box lunch. Box lunches will be available at 12:15 p.m.

Space is limited – pre-registration required.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com.

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Food-Twinkies No MoreThere have been a number of stories in recent days implying that the demise of Hostess was somehow the result of unreasonable demands from workers. Here, however, are a couple of stories that debunk that narrative.

In the first (“No cupcake: Workers turn down bad deal from Hostess”), Dean Baker at the Center on Economic and Policy Research points out that the management team with whom the workers were attempting to negotiate were basically a bunch of predatory knuckleheads.

In the second (“Hostess blames union for bankruptcy after tripling CEO’s pay”), the folks at Think Progress provide more disturbing details.

 

 

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The N.C. Budget and Tax Center reported recently that while North Carolinians are working harder than ever, most are not reaping the benefits economically. The report points to the “off-shoring” of jobs as a major contributor to soaring income inequality.

Yesterday, Senior Economist John Schmitt of the Center for Economic Policy Research reported similar findings on the national level; American workers are better and more productive than ever.

“The workforce today is more experienced, much better educated, and working with more –and better– capital. Largely as a result, GDP per capita was 63 percent higher in 2010 than it was in 1979.”

Schmitt’s report, however, points to parallel and closely related contributing cause for growing wage and income inequality: the decline in worker bargaining power. Read More