This week's winner is a European industrial union aiming to win a 5 percent raise for around 3.8 million workers; this week's loser owes its workers back wages for the time they spent putting on and taking off required gear.
IG Metall, Germany's largest industrial union, is seeking a 12-month deal which would raise the wages for workers in the automobile and machinery sectors, among others. The pay raise would affect around 3.8 million workers.
The union had called for a 5.5 percent increase last year and succesfully won a 3.4 percent raise for industrial workers following negotiations. The union said companies have healthy earnings and argued that pay raises would help strengthen domestic demand and economic growth.
The Germany economy, after growing by 1.7 percent last year, is expected to continue its performance. The country's annual inflation rate also fell to zero last month from 0.5 percent in January.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled this week that Hormel Foods Corporation owes hundreds of its Beloit-based workers back wages for the time they spent putting on required gear and clothing.
Thomas Krukowski, Hormel's attorney in the case, argued that the company shouldn't have to pay its employees for that time since the gear wasn't crucial to the jobs required of the workers. The court documents, however, show that Hormel's cleanliness, quality and safety standards require employees to wear hard hats, hearing and eye protection, hair nets and sanitary shoes, all of which cannot be warn outside of the plant.
The workers' union and Hormel decided the average gear and dressing time was approximately 5.7 minutes per day, adding up to about 24 hours each year.