News & Commentary

February 28, 2014

Newsweek reports that Columbia University and other colleges are taking steps to ensure that employers pay interns in accordance with Labor Department guidelines. Columbia will no longer offer registration credits in exchange for internship experience, a move it hopes will discourage employers from using academic credit as a justification to forego compensation.

 In Chattanooga-related news, a group of five VW workers are challenging the UAW’s appeal to the National Labor Relations Board for a new election. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the five anti-union workers filed a motion with the NLRB asking to intervene in the UAW’s pending request, saying their employer and the union “are colluding to force unionization” on them and their co-workers. The workers are being supported by the National Right to Work Foundation. After the UAW submits its evidence, the Board will conduct an administrative investigation to determine whether there will be a hearing before an NLRB judge. Meanwhile, Sen. Corker defended the anti-union remarks he made during the campaign, saying that “if the NLRB were to “muzzle” elected officials by deciding the comments were interference, “I think that is going to be a landmark decision.”

 The New York Times Editorial Board has a piece about the numerous studies which illustrate the benefits to businesses that would result from raising the minimum wage. According to the article, “scholarly studies and the experience of businesses themselves show that what companies lose when they pay more is often offset by lower turnover and increased productivity. Businesses are also able to deal with higher costs by modestly increasing prices and by giving smaller increases to higher-paid employees.” In addition, higher wages increase consumer spending, which the article cites as one reason Wal-Mart is considering supporting the Democratic proposal.

In international news, the Wall Street Journal reports that French President François Hollande’s economic recovery plan is facing difficulty, as business and labor leaders clash over who should make the first move towards an agreement on taxes, commitments to future investment, and worker protections.   

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