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Unions Dealt Blow in UAW’s Home State

Wall Street Journal (12/12/12) Matthew Dolan; Kris Maher

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed two right-to-work bills on Dec. 11 that would allow workers in unionized workplaces in both the public and private sectors to opt out of paying union dues. Experts say the Michigan laws, which follow on the heels of similar legislation in Wisconsin and Indiana, emphasize unions’ weakening clout nationwide. Supporters of the bills, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, believe they will make the state more competitive. The laws go into effect 90 days after the close of the lame-duck session, making Michigan the 24th state with right-to-work laws in place.

Baltimore City Moves to Extend Digicon Staffing Contract

Baltimore Sun (12/11/12) Luke Broadwater

The city of Baltimore intends to extend Digicon Corp. and Telecommunications Systems Inc.’s contracts for an additional six months. The two staffing firms provide information technology employees for the city. Baltimore Comptroller Joan Pratt has criticized the city’s reliance on the two staffing firms over concerns the city made purchases from Digicon under a different contract, bypassing the competitive bidding process. The mayor’s office says the purchases were appropriate, but the administration said in September it was expanding the number of IT staffing firms with which it works from two to about 50. The six-month extension of the Digicon and Telecommunications Systems contracts will buy the city time to implement a more broad-based staffing system, says Chris Tonjes, the city’s chief information officer.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Changed Little in October

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (12/11/12)

There were 3.7 million job openings on the last business day of October, little changed from September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Dec. 11. The hires rate (3.2%) and separations rate (3.1%) were also little changed in October.

The number of openings was little changed in all industries except construction, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services, which increased. The number of openings was also little changed in all four regions in October. The hires rate was also little changed in all industries and regions over the month. The total separations rate was little changed for total nonfarm, unchanged for total private, and rose for government. Over the 12 months ending in October, hires totaled 51.7 million and separations totaled 49.8 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.9 million.

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