News & Commentary

August 23, 2013

In continuing coverage of the rift between unions and the White House over Obamacare, the Huffington Post reports that the Nevada State AFL-CIO has passed a resolution criticizing the administration’s handling of the issue, and arguing the law may end up “destroying” multi-employer healthcare plans that the unions have negotiated.

A new study of USERRA, a federal law which protects reservists and military veterans from employment discrimination, has found that 25% of employers don’t understand their obligations to current and former military members under that law.

Local governments across the country are cutting the hours of their part-time employees to avoid new healthcare costs, reports the Washington Post.  The move comes in anticipation of Obamacare’s mandate that will require employers to provide healthcare to employees working over 30 hours per week.

U.S. District Court has ruled that the NLRB’s General Counsel Lafe Solomon was improperly appointed in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act. According to the Wall Street Journal, the NLRB is likely to appeal because other District Courts have ruled in the Board’s favor, and the decision calls into question the validity of a number of Board actions since Mr. Solomon’s appointment.

The new contract between the City of Los Angeles and its Department of Water and Power is a “mixed win” for Mayor Eric Garcetti, reports the L.A. Times. Mayor Garcetti obtained major concessions from the union on pensions and wages, estimated to save $6 billion over 30 years, but failed to achieve his goal of shifting healthcare costs to employees and has hurt his relationship with city council.

The New York Times’ Laura D’Andrea Tyson analyzes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to boost the economy by reducing gender disparity in that country’s workforce. Japan has the second-largest gender pay gap in the OECD, and the employment rate for women is 25% lower than for men.

The L.A. Times’ Michael Tanner discusses a new CATO Institute study comparing welfare recipients to low-wage workers and concluding that collecting social assistance often pays better than working. Tanner argues that, rather than working to increase wages, lawmakers should reduce benefit levels and heighten welfare work requirements.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley writes that black workers should “cheer” a recent court ruling holding that using criminal-background checks is not unlawful employment discrimination. Riley argues that the ability to rely on concrete information from background checks means employers will rely less on racial stereotypes in making hiring decisions.

The Washington Post’s Brad Plumer looks at recent data on existing unemployment benefits and newly filed claims, and finds that benefits are disappearing for workers faster than the job market is improving, in part because many states have cut back on the maximum weeks of benefit eligibility.

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