Today’s News and Commentary — December 8, 2016

The Wall Street Journal reports that President-elect Donald Trump is planning to name Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., as his labor secretary.  Andrew Puzder has advocated a pro-business stance on labor issues.  Read more from OnLabor here.

The Atlantic reported on a new Allstate/Atlantic Media Heartland Monitor Poll, which released findings that Americans are expecting big changes in the economy from Donald Trump.  Three-fifths of Americans believe that the U.S. economy will become more globally competitive and half of Americans believe their opportunities will improve.  However, it remains to be seen whether Donald Trump will be able to deliver on his economy-related campaign pledges.

In a piece entitled, “The 5 Easiest and 5 Most Difficult Promises for Donald Trump to Keep,” the New York Times tries to predict which of President-Elect Trump’s campaign promises are most and least likely to be realized. Many of the hardest ones for him to achieve are particularly significant for workers.  They include investing in infrastructure jobs, reinvigorating U.S. steel production and coal mining, and stopping U.S. companies from outsourcing jobs to other countries.  Read more here.

With Republican victories at the state and national levels following this fall’s election, Alana Semuels of the Atlantic examined the effects of Wisconsin’s Act 10, to see what union workers could have in store.  She cites a new study by Andrew Litten, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan, who found that total teacher compensation, including fringe benefits, decreased by 8 percent as a result of the Wisconsin law.  Read more here.

The New York Times published a piece from Lui Cixin, a science-fiction author, in which he reflects on the technological advancements in 2016 and envisions a future where robots largely replace human workers.  Beginning with the observation that driverless cars are on track to eliminate roughly three million jobs in the United States alone, he suggests that eventually 10 percent of the population will be unemployed.  He imagines this widespread disruption could engender two possible futures— either a “dystopian scenario” where “our societies sink into prolonged turmoil” or a utopian one where “we’ve anticipated these changes and come up with solutions beforehand.”

In international news, NPR reported that a new study from the Overseas Development Institute reveals that child labor laws are widely ignored in Bangladesh with children younger than 14 working an average of 64 hours a week.  The study is based off a survey of 3,000 households located in the slums of Dhaka.  Read more here.