News & Commentary

December 9, 2016

Leora Smith

Leora Smith is a student at Harvard Law School.

In a policy move that might be unprecedented, Portland city council voted on Wednesday to tax public companies whose CEOs make more than 100 times the median salary of their workers.  In other innovation news, legislators in Canada’s smallest province – Prince Edward Island – just voted unanimously to pilot a Universal Basic Income.

On a related note – can policy change at the federal level change corporate norms? Steven Greenhouse rounds up some of the policy proposals circulated after President-Elect Trump’s Carrier deal, and suggests a few new ideas to reduce outsourcing and keep jobs in the United States.

Chuck Jones, president of the local union representing Carrier workers, spoke out about the deal this week saying that President-Elect Trump misled hundreds of workers into thinking their jobs will stay in the United States. In response, Trump tweeted a personal attack against him. Following the tweets, Jones received phone calls and death threats from strangers. In an op-ed in the Washington Post Jones writes, “To be honest, the attention isn’t a big deal. I’ve been doing this job for 30 years. In that time, people have threatened to shoot me, to burn my house down. I’m not a macho man, but I’m just used to it. What I can’t abide, however, is a president who misleads workers, who gives them false hope.”

And Trump’s pick of fast-food CEO Andy Puzder as nominee for Secretary of Labor is causing some to question what direction the incoming administration will actually take on immigration. Puzder has  expressed support for bringing in more new Americans who will work low-wage jobs, while providing legal documents to those who are already here doing so. If that is his stance, it is in stark contrast to Trump’s campaign rhetoric and the policies supported by his other appointees. The Intercept reports that Puzder would not be the only person in Trump’s labor department with this policy stance – a recent appointee to the DOL transition team owns a company that specializes in recruiting “cheap, foreign labor” for American businesses.

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