Today’s News and Commentary – December 27
The Wall Street Journal reports that McDonald’s has removed its “McResource” site, citing controversy over some of the information and advice that had been provided to its workers on the webpage. Workers’ rights groups, who have been pushing for higher wages for fast food workers, had mocked the website for including advice about applying for government benefits, how to find a second job, and stretching food budgets by portioning food differently.
One of Spain’s largest trade unions is accused of misappropriating nearly $2.5 million worth of funds intended to aid unemployed workers, according to the New York Times. The General Union of Workers denies wrongdoing, but is accused of diverting funds to pay for union events and gifts for union officials. A government investigation is ongoing and the amount of alleged missing funds could grow significantly.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is caught in a political bind as she seeks to introduce a federal minimum wage, reports the Wall Street Journal. The proposal was a vital concession to secure the support of the left-leaning Social Democrats for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party, but is running into trouble over employer efforts to carve out exceptions for certain sectors of the labor market.
Paul Krugman of the New York Times writes that the weak job market and high unemployment is harmful not just to unemployed workers, but to those who have jobs as well, as it reduces their bargaining power with employers while they “live in a climate of economic fear”.