Today’s News & Commentary — December 12, 2016

Graduate students who work as teaching and research assistants at Columbia University successfully voted for union representation. As reported in Bloomberg BNA, the vote (1,602 to 623) will allow working students to be represented by United Auto Workers—a change opposed by the university. Meanwhile, a similar vote at Harvard still has no result after some 1,200 ballots were challenged.

“I believe in justice for everyone,” stated an eleven-year-old in front of a Wendy’s yesterday. A group of fifth graders joined the picket line at the fast food chain in Boston, “urging customers to boycott the fast-food chain unless it agrees to pay a higher price for tomatoes—a move advocates say could boost farm wages,” according to the Boston Globe. This children’s labor protest is an annual tradition for the class at Boston Workmen’s Circle Center for Jewish Culture and Social Justice. After learning the history of labor movements, the class dedicates time to a current labor issue.

Donald Trump’s crusade to keep jobs from moving overseas was expected. But according to the Los Angeles Times, what’s worrying businesspeople is the way he’s going about it: targeting individual companies, getting personally involved, and conducting “backroom deal-making that has analysts concerned about crony capitalism.” Analysts worry that a job boost would merely be short term. Trump’s tariffs would lead to higher prices, fewer exports, and ultimately fewer jobs—worrying even union workers. The Times also point out how Trump’s Carrier deal—millions of dollars in tax breaks in exchange for their keeping several hundred jobs in the United States—is not scalable. Similar deals have been previously tried with other companies, to no avail.