News & Commentary

August 11, 2014

In analysis of corporate disclosures, Reuters reports that employment growth in the United States has trailed behind U.S. corporations’ increases in revenue and operating profit since the early 2000s. The article questions whether the disclosures, which lack data on international employment growth, indicate whether “the nation’s ability to generate well-paying jobs in manufacturing and other sectors [has] been fundamentally scarred by changes in the global economy that may predate the 2008-2009 economic crisis.” The article considers what Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has called the steady drift of national income “away from labor and towards capital.”

Channel 58 CBS News reports that Mayor Tom Barnett of Milwaukee has announced that he will host a series of meetings to support former Cargill workers to find new jobs. Cargill closed its Milwaukee plant on July 30th, leaving 587 workers unemployed. State law requires Cargill to pay its works for 60 days after a shutdown.

The Columbus Dispatch highlights an uptick in potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates discussing poverty reduction. GOP hopefuls like Sen. Marcio Rubio (R-FL), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) have begun to emphasize switching Federal anti-poverty programs to state control, what the article calls “wrapping a conservative cloak around what traditionally has been a Democratic effort to reduce poverty.” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) is calling for more drug treatment programs and better schools. He has a mixed record on employment issues, supporting the Obama Administration’s extension of unemployment benefits to 1.3 million Americans while vigorously opposing any increase in the minimum wage.

The Washington Post reports that taxi drivers, taxi companies, and labor unions have joined together to lobby and file lawsuits resisting the uptick in privatized taxi services like Uber and Lift. Drivers complain that these companies enjoy an unfair advantage because they do not face the same regulatory and licensing requirements as taxi companies. Their efforts have had mixed results. Last week in Maryland, a commission ruled that Uber must abide by state regulations while in Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) announced that the state had reached an agreement that would allow Uber and Lift to continue to operate relatively unburdened.

The New York Times highlights opera fan’s perspectives on the ongoing contract disputes at the Metropolitan Opera. Online commentary and personal interviews reflect the gamut of opinions on unionization. Union supporters concentrate on Met management’s failure to bargain in good faith while detractors emphasize that many artists and artisans already earn a better living than most Americans. Negotiations broke off with twelve unions on July 31 and Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, has threatened a lockout if his demands are not met.

The New York Times profiles Judge Claudia Wilkens, who ruled on O’Bannon v. NCAA last week. Her ruling announced that NCAA student athletes should, upon graduation, be entitled to compensation for the NCAA’s commercial use of their image. The article highlights her past employment-related rulings in the Northern District of California, including stopping California from making reductions in home health care services and allowing LGBTQ state employees to sue for insurance coverage of their spouses and partners.

The New York Times reports on the mass resettlement of refugees in Utica, NY as an economic driver for the post-industrial, upstate city. Approximately one-fourth of Utica’s population, 62,000 people, is made up of resettled refugees, including Somalis, Burmese, Vietnamese, and Bosnians. Utica’s recent economic growth has been attributed to these migrants opening their own businesses and renovating dilapidated housing stock.

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