Today’s News and Commentary — April 10
The Paycheck Fairness Act fell short in the Senate yesterday, as it failed to garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican filibuster, the New York Times reports. As the Huffington Post notes, this is the third time the Act has failed in the Senate. An editorial in the New York Times discusses the “Truth about the Pay Gap,” addressing the empirical debate about exactly how big the pay gap is and what it represents. Meanwhile, an editorial by Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post criticizes the rhetoric of Democrats around the issue. Although she supports the Act, she notes that the Act “presents more complicated questions about proof and damages,” and that therefore there “is a difference between opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act and opposing paycheck fairness.” Further coverage can be found at the Washington Post, Politico, CBS News, and others.
As anticipated, Northwestern appealed the ruling by the regional director of the NLRB finding that its scholarship football players are employees, the Chicago Tribune reports. A vote is currently set for April 25 for scholarship players to determine if they want to join the College Athletes Players Association. Further coverage can be found at the New York Times, New York Post, Huffington Post, and others. The Washington Post reports that Northwestern’s quarterback says he will oppose unionization, noting that the players “should have taken their concerns to coach Pat Fitzgerald and athletic director James Phillips before setting out to unionize.” The Washington Post also reports that Kain Colter, the former Northwestern quarterback who is spearheading the current unionization effort there, has been in discussions with Kenny Bell, a football player on the Nebraska Cornhuskers, about expanding the movement to that school as well.
The Labor Department announced that “number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost seven years,” the Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, 2,000 employees at Johns Hopkins hospital went on strike, the Washington Post reports. The strike includes maintenance workers, housekeepers, kitchen staff and others, who began striking on Tuesday and will continue through Friday. “The union rejected the hospital’s final offer of $12 an hour.”
Several articles and opinion pieces today focus on President Obama’s immigration policies and record. The L.A. Times reports that leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are confident that if immigration reform does not progress in Congress this year, “the administration will act by executive action.” The Caucus met with Homeland Security Secretary Jed Johnson on Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog discusses a report by NDN, a progressive think tank, defending President Obama’s record on immigration by noting that immigration enforcement shows declining numbers when accounting for both “‘removals,’ when individuals are deported from the country, and ‘returns,’ when they are turned back at the border without a formal deportation process.” Lawrence Downes, on the New York Times Taking Note blog, however, discussed “The Obama Deportation Debacle,” noting recent reports that the Obama administration’s deportation practices have not been limited to the types of serious criminals the administration said it was targeting for deportation.
A post on the New York Times Dealbook blog discusses a trend in the finance industry to encourage junior employees to take time off on weekends, even creating rules or policies discouraging workers from coming into the office on Saturdays. But the nascent attempts to alter culture have not been accompanied by decreases in the amount of work to be done, resulting merely in shifts to when work is being performed.