Today's News & Commentary — November 30, 2015
The Washington Post reports that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has earned the endorsement of Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh, a lifelong union man. The endorsement came on Sunday from Boston’s Fanueil Hall where Walsh emphasized something Clinton often does not — her gender. At the rally, Walsh called on union members nationwide to shatter the “glass ceiling” by electing Clinton to the oval office. “Where are my fellow tradeswomen and men? Get your sledgehammers ready, because we’ve got a glass ceiling to demolish.” Walsh added, “[i]t’s time we stop talking about having a woman for president — it’s time we make it a reality.” Clinching Walsh’s support, the Post notes, will likely carry weight among Boston’s union voters who view Walsh as “one other own.” Walsh is a 20-plus year member and former president of the Laborer’s Local Union 223 and previously headed the Boston Building Trades.
Cash for citizenship? An editorial in Sunday’s LA Times called for “fundamental changes” to the EB-5 visa program, which provides employment-based immigration preference for immigrant investors who invest $1 million — or $500,000 in the case of areas of high unemployment — in job growth. Immigrants who meet the criteria of the EB-5 visa receive a two-year conditional green card for themselves, spouses, and children, that then “convert[s] into permanent resident status with a path to citizenship” once 10 or more jobs are created or preserved. So what’s the problem? For the LA Times, at least, the issue is that poor regulation allows immigrant investors to game the system. “[T]he poorly conceived structure of the regional centers lets investors withdraw their money in two years, once they’ve received their Lawful Permanent Resident status.” Looks like Washington can now add the EB-5 visa to one of the many employment-based visa programs, think the H – 1B, that are in need of reform.
Germany’s largest airline carrier, Lufthansa, has settled one of its many scores with labor by agreeing to increase wages for all employees and paying lump sums of 2,250 euros ($2,383.3) to 30,000 ground staff, reports the International Business Times. The wage hike, which raises salaries by 2.2% across the board, will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. In the meantime, Lufthansa must still contend with the pilot and cabin staff unions, which have initiated separate disputes against the airline. All major unions representing Lufthansa staff are set to discuss their grievances at a summit on Dec. 2.
President Obama’s top civil servants are slated to receive an uptick in compensation and other employment perks as a new executive order goes to print, reports the Washington Post. The employees who stand to benefit are the 7,000 members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) who lead the executive’s federal agencies, but often make less than lower level employees. Yet while increasing pay is a top priority for the Senior Executives Association (SEA), the organization representing SES members, much more needs to be done to make employment among the agency elite attractive again. “[T]he risk-reward imbalance of serving in the SES has worsened significantly in recent years” notes the SEA. “From the standpoint of career executives (and potential candidates for SES jobs) inadequate compensation, lack of pay-for-performance, limited recognition . . . and expanding work-life imbalances . . . threaten the future quality and commitment of the career executive corps.”