Today’s News & Commentary — October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween! In order to get your fright night started right, check out this list of union-made candies from the AFL-CIO.

The Washington Post reports that federal workers earn 34.07% less on average than comparable workers in the private sector. The number was derived by the Federal Salary Council, a group that oversees the General Schedule pay system that covers most government workers. This figure is around the same as it has been the last three years, which has led federal employee unions to call for higher wages, though the number has been disputed by conservative and libertarian groups (finding a 14 to 78% pay advantage) and the Congressional Budget Office (finding a 2% pay advantage).

A new poll by the National Employment Law Project found 84% of voters, both Republican and Democrat, “bristle when corporations illegally misclassify employees,” as put by the NELP’s Rebecca Smith in The Hill. These voters are in favor of policies that make it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors and that subject such companies to higher fines.

In Uber news, a new study from researchers at MIT, Stanford, and University of Washington found that Boston Uber drivers “canceled rides for men with black-sounding names more than twice as often as for other men” and “Black people in Seattle faced notably longer wait times for a car using Uber and Lyft Inc. than white customers,” as reported in Bloomberg. The researchers proposed fixes such as hiding passenger names and increasing repercussions to canceling rides, as well as periodic discrimination reviews. The paper researchers also noticed that “women were sometimes taken on significantly longer rides than men.”