Daily News & Commentary – February 2
In the wake of yesterday’s United Steelworkers walkout at nine refineries, oil companies have said “contingency plans to use nonunion labor” will keep the striking refineries running, reports The Wall Street Journal. The walkout could put time and financial strains on skeleton crews, which would have to work long shifts, and on oil companies that have to pay out overtime wages to those workers. The United Steelworkers’ strike is most widespread of oil industry strike in 35 years.
The Week writer Jeff Spross believes that Republicans and conservatives should embrace labor unions. In recent weeks, “GOP presidential hopefuls and congressional Republicans have shifted their rhetoric to focus on stagnating middle-class wages and the rising gap between America’s rich and everyone else.” Because of this newfound focus on income inequality, Spross agrees with BloombergView‘s Christopher Flavelle: Rebuild unions, since stronger unions seem to play a key role in reducing inequality.
Wisconsin’s new State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk wants to cut superfluous state employees, starting with himself. The New York Times reports that Adamczyk ran for Treasurer on the promise to eliminate the position during his one and only term in office. Wisconsin’s Office of the State Treasurer is virtually powerless, with only a few remaining responsibilities like supervising a little-known agency called the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands. Getting rid of his own job would require a constitutional amendment, a measure that technically could not happen until 2017, but in Adamczyk’s first few weeks in office, he has searched for what he calls “egregious government waste, and tried to stamp it out.”
The World Bank’s internal watchdog organization has decided not to investigate the link between World Bank loans and Uzbek government-organized forced labor, a choice that was called “alarming” by human rights campaigners.