Today’s News and Commentary — February 14

Published February 14th, 2014 -  - 02.14.142


Today is the final day of voting at the Chattanooga Volkswagen plant, as workers decide whether to be represented by the United Auto Workers. As the Washington Post notes, both sides have poured substantial money into this campaign, with some seeing it as pivotal for the future of unionization for auto companies in the South. The LA Times is running an op-ed criticizing Tennessee politicians for interfering in the election process. We will continue to cover this story, and we’ll post the outcome of the election as soon as it is announced.

Mark Bittman has an op-ed in the New York Times about the tipped minimum wage, which has remained constant at $2.13 through the last two increases in the general minimum wage. Bittman notes the gender implications at stake in this policy: because 70% of restaurant servers are women, he argues, the tipped minimum wage reinforces the notion that women’s work is less valuable than men’s.

The New York Times reports that Sen. Chuck Schumer will try to re-start the stalled debate on national immigration reform by using a legislative maneuver called a discharge petition, which “would allow supporters of overhauling the nation’s immigration laws to circumvent the Republican majority in the House by bringing the measure directly to the House floor, bypassing the regular committee process.” The Times notes that the tactic is rarely successful, but at the very least Democratic supporters hope to force others legislators to act on the issue.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testified before the House Financial Services Committee this week about the state of the economic recovery. The Washington Post’s She the People blog took the opportunity to note that a major component of the shrinking labor force is due to younger people working less as older people work more. This trend is especially true of women: as the post notes, women over 75 have the fastest projected rate of growth in the work force over the next ten years. At the same time, “every group of women under age 45 is projected to have a lower labor force participation rate in 2022 than in 2012.”

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