Weekend News & Commentary — February 25-26, 2017

The Democratic National Committee elected former labor secretary Thomas Perez as the first Latino chairman of the party.  The race for who would lead the rebuilding Democratic Party had been unusually contentious, going to a second ballot after the strong showing of Representative Keith Ellison.  Perez immediately named Ellison his deputy, expressing a desire to present a united front against President Trump with progressive activists who had strongly supported the Minnesota Congressman’s bid.

Yesterday afternoon, after hours of impassioned testimony by workers and union members, the New Mexico House of Representatives killed a bill that would have made the state the 29th with so-called right-to-work laws on its books.

The New York Times looks at the career of Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor who made much of his fortune through business decisions that embraced free trade and moved jobs overseas, but will now be tasked as commerce secretary with overseeing President Trump’s protectionist agenda.

The Lincoln Journal Star has an in-depth feature this weekend about the struggles of employers in Nebraska’s second-largest city to attract and retain workers.  With an unemployment rate of just 3.4% and a dearth of young college graduates, new businesses are having to look further and further afield to fill vacancies.

Finally, the Guardian has a pair of articles covering potential impacts of Brexit on vulnerable sectors of the UK economy.  The first addresses the potential for automation to replace EU workers involved in food production, but concludes that robots would be unable to fill the roles currently occupied by foreign employees.  The second looks at the crucial roll immigrants from other EU nations play in staffing the country’s social care system.