Today's News and Commentary – February 10
A Bangladeshi court has jailed the owners of a garment factory in which more than 100 workers died in a 2012 fire. According to the Wall Street Journal, the owners, who were denied a bail application on Sunday, are charged with “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” and “causing death by negligence.” If convicted they could be sentenced to life in prison. This is the first time authorities in Bangladesh have taken steps to hold a factory owner responsible for workers’ deaths.
According to the Washington Post, First Lady Michele Obama and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will announce on Monday a pledge from construction companies to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years. The pledge involves more than 100 companies and is part of the White House’s Join Forces Initiative, which seeks to encourage non-governmental support for former troops.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the nation’s “quit rate”—the percentage of workers who voluntarily leave their jobs—reached 1.8% in November, the highest in the recovery from the 2008 economic collapse. Some economists think the willingness of workers to quit is a sign of the labor market’s health, indicating that more workers are confident that they will find better jobs on the market. An alternative explanation focuses on the fact that more of the jobs the economy is creating are in industries like retail and restaurants, which are known for higher turnover and relatively low pay.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered his first State of the City speech on Monday, reports the Washington Post. Mr. de Blasio focused the speech on curbing income inequality, calling for the state legislature to grant the city the right to set its own minimum wage. He also outlined a plan to grant municipal ID cards to all residents by the end of the year regardless of their immigration status, which would make it easier for many residents to obtain bank accounts, leases, and library cards.
According to the Wall Street Journal, in the fiscal year that ended on September 30, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission extracted a record number of monetary awards from companies facing employment discrimination lawsuits. Private-sector employers paid $372 million in negotiated settlements.