Today’s News and Commentary — August 21

Published August 21st, 2013 -  - 08.21.132


More news on Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal. Pension funds representing Detroit’s city employees and retirees have challenged emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s calculations regarding pension shortfalls. The pension issue further complicates Detroit’s already contentious Chapter 9 filing.

In the Washington Post, opinion writer Harold Meyerson harkens back to the “more robust and egalitarian mid-20th century” in proposing a solution for the declining forecasts of the nation’s mass-retailers.  Meyerson argues that today’s retailers can learn from New Deal-era retail magnates, who raised employee wages and provided workers with bargaining power in a successful effort to address under-consumption.

Concrete developments in the ongoing labor dispute between Korean autoworkers employed by Hyundai and its affiliate Kia Motors.  As the Washington Post reports, the unions representing Hyundai and Kia workers have walk outs scheduled for this week, placing pressure on both Hyundai and Kia to meet union demands for better wages and benefits.  

Farm labor contractors who provide field workers for California’s multi-billion dollar agricultural industry are growing nervous over a provision in the Affordable Care Act.  The New York Times reports that the ACA’s requirement that contractors provide full-time farmworkers with health insurance—a requirement that’s been delayed until 2015—may cause price increases for consumers.  This cost appears to be unavoidable for the thinly margined industry, since part-time farm labor isn’t economical. 

The Bipartisan Policy Centre’s bipartisan Immigration Task Force—comprised of luminaries such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (R) and former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis (D)—has issued a report on immigration reform. As the Washington Post notes, the report contains proposals to help American workers and businesses by increasing employment-based immigration and adjusting visa levels to fluctuating labor market demands. 

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