News & Commentary

December 8, 2023

Greg Volynsky

Greg Volynsky is a student at Harvard Law School.

In Today’s News & Commentary, the unemployment rate falls in November, Governor Newsom reconsiders $25/hour minimum wage for healthcare workers, Apple faces labor challenge in India, and former labor leader convicted.

The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell in November, as the economy added 199,000 jobs—14,000 more than economists polled by Bloomberg expected, although fewer than the monthly average over the past year. Wages increased by 4.1% over the last year.

California Governor Newsom is reconsidering a plan to raise the minimum wage for healthcare workers to $25 an hour, in light of a projected $68-billion state budget deficit, after signing the legislation in October. The wage increase was projected to cost $4 billion in 2024 – 25 fiscal year. Newsom said the changes were “part of an understanding” reached with labor leaders before he signed the bill into law.

Apple faces a labor challenge in diversifying its production away from China and into India. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where Foxconn and Pegatron factories assemble iPhones, a bill that would have allowed for 12-hour factory shifts, aligning labor practices with those in China, was shelved after encountering resistance from unions and opposition parties. Manufacturing in China and India present distinct challenges—China may impose nationwide inflexible policies (as the COVID-19 lockdowns), while India boasts robust courts and local governments with diverse labor policies.

Former Philadelphia labor leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty was convicted of embezzling over $650,000 from Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This marks Dougherty’s second conviction since a 2019 indictment.

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