Today’s News and Commentary – February 11
The New York Times reports on a three-month long lockout at a Kellogg’s cereal plant in Memphis, Tennessee. Workers represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union were locked out after refusing to allow Kellogg’s to expand a temporary worker program that would create a second tier of lower paid, permanent employees at the plant.
Workers at a Volkswagen auto manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee will vote this week to decide whether to adopt a German-style “workers council” with the assistance of the United Auto Workers. The Washington Post reports that the election stands out as Volkswagen is supporting the union vote in a Right to Work State. According to Bloomberg Business Week, the election has drawn considerable attention from GOP and anti-union groups, who warn that unionization will result in job loss. The Detroit News reports that Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the National Right to Work Committee have posted billboards comparing Chattanooga’s future to that of Detroit’s. Tennessee state legislators have also gotten into the debate, with some Republicans threatening to withhold tax incentives for further expansion of the plant if the union wins, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
In further coverage of Mayor Bill De Blasio’s State of the City Speech, the Wall Street Journal writes that the mayor will seek the permission of the New York State Legislature to allow New York City to set its own minimum wage.
Finally, the New York Times reports on the pay differential for Palestinian workers employed in Israeli-run industrial zones in the West Bank versus Palestinian sectors of the West Bank. The coverage focuses on the internal and political tensions that arise as Palestinians opt to work for Israeli-owned businesses to make a living.