Congress Ponders Adding GED Requirement to Unemployment Benefits

From The Daily Beast:

We can all agree that it’d be great if every adult in America possessed a high-school degree or at least a GED equivalent.

But to deny unemployment benefits to those who didn’t finish high school?

It seems a crazy idea, yet that’s precisely what might happen, depending on negotiations between the House and Senate as the two sides work to decide, by month’s end, whether to extend both unemployment insurance to cover people out of work for up to 99 weeks and also a 2 percent cut in the payroll tax. As it stands now, the House version of the extension bill includes a provision that would deny unemployment benefits to any person without a high-school diploma or a GED unless they can prove that they are enrolled in a high-school equivalency program.

NH Republicans Want to Eliminate Mandatory Lunch Breaks for Workers

From The Concord Monitor:

Mark MacKenzie, the state’s AFL-CIO president, yesterday told Rep. JR Hoell of Dunbarton to give him a break.

Repeal the law requiring half-hour lunch breaks for employees after five straight hours of work?

Trust all bosses to do the right thing, all the time?

MacKenzie, who once fought fires and now fights for workers’ rights, said pass the salad, not this bill.

“Quite frankly,” MacKenzie said, “considering this is 2012, and I’m talking about the repeal of the lunch hour, this is outrageous.”

MacKenzie, addressing the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Service Committee, spoke out against legislation sponsored by Hoell and backed by Rep. Kyle Jones of Rochester. He spoke about the heart he believed made up the core of most employers, about the sense of fairness and humanity that dominates the state’s working landscape.

He acknowledged that most employers treat workers fairly, but he didn’t think that was any reason to do away with a longstanding protection. Abolishing the lunch-break law – enacted 36 years ago as insurance against unfair working conditions – would be naive and impractical, MacKenzie said.

(via Poor Mojo)