Our Texas readers might have read about the layoffs planned by Lockheed Martin that were announced back in November. Several plants are going to be closed, including one in Horizon City, Texas. The company, the largest defense contractor in the world, announced this week that it will pay about $175 million in severance to employees who are losing their jobs as a result.
Recent independent studies were made by several different research organizations concerning San Antonio’s retirement plan for its city workers. The good news is that the city’s pension plan ranks with the best-funded programs of all large cities in the U.S. The bad news is that there is a problem with the funding for retirement health care benefits.
According to some businesses and political leaders in Texas, federal laws regarding equal pay for equal job duties are all that are needed to ensure fair compensation. Not everyone agrees with this stance, and groups are organizing to protest both state government action and businesses that speak out against state legislation that would help ensure equal compensation for women.
When is an employee not an employee? It depends on how a worker is classified by an employer. Full-time employees are eligible for benefits -- and are also required to be paid overtime, where applicable, and fair wages. Employers must also pay insurance and employment taxes for full-time employees, which can add up to significant expenses for businesses.
According to a report released earlier this month, 59 percent of Texas fast-food employees rely on some form of public assistance to support their families. Recent strikes in Houston, Dallas and Austin have focused on the fact that employees are whipsawed between compensation that has less purchasing power than it did in 1968 and the growth of part-time work, especially in low-wage sectors of the economy.
Being a district attorney pays well in Texas, especially in certain counties. That is at least the case for Joe Shannon, the former state representative that was appointed as Tarrant County’s DA in 2009 by Gov. Rick Perry. His case may be one of the highest profile employment-related disputes the state will resolve this year, with employment benefits and overall compensation in question.
Just last week, we discussed the movement here in Texas for a higher minimum wage. While many people think that employers in San Antonio and throughout the state should pay workers more, it is also imperative to hold employers accountable for complying with existing wage and hour laws.
Earlier this week, people rallied in downtown Houston to encourage employers to pay workers more than minimum wage. The minimum wage here in Texas is tied to the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 an hour. The federal minimum has not been increased for four years, but the Minimum Wage Act of 2013 is currently working its way through Congress, and if passed it would raise the federal minimum to $10.10 an hour.