Today's News and Commentary — February 29, 2016
Judge William Foust of Dane County, Wisconsin heard arguments on Thursday for a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, the Milwaukee International Association of Machinists, and the Menasha United Steelworkers requesting an injunction from the state’s almost year-old right-to-work law, reports the Wisconsin State Journal. The lawsuit claims the law is an unconstitutional government taking because under the right-to-work regime unions are required to represent workers who are no longer required to pay for their representation. Judge Foust did not issue an immediate injunction but is expected to issue a written argument at a later date
Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, has announced MLBPA’s support for Aroldis Chapman, a Yankees player awaiting possible suspension in the face of a domestic violence charge, reports Newsday. Chapman’s Collective Bargaining Agreement does not enumerate specific discipline for domestic violence incidents, and it is unclear, according to Clark, that management has the final say in disciplining players accused of domestic violence. Clark stated that the Union would support Chapman in an appeal of any possible punishment, saying “[The union] will never exist in a world where there is one judge, jury and sentencer…. We fought for it too long . . . to ever assume that that’s going to be the case.”
In France, President Francois Hollande is considering a proposal to revamp labor law in the face of what French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron is calling an economic “state of emergency,” according to Bloomberg Business. The reform threatens the current French law which limits the workweek to 35 hours per week and would make it easier for companies to lay off workers. Macron stated that the law would make labor more flexible and would help modernize the economy. However, worker’s representatives and Socialist lawmakers have openly opposed the reform, accusing Francois Hollande of “enduringly weakening France” with his policies.
Politico reports that President Obama announced the new Summer Opportunity Project, a program aimed at encouraging youth employment, on his LinkedIn account on Thursday. The program will work, President Obama wrote, by “bring[ing] together state and local leaders, community organizations, schools, and businesses – including LinkedIn – to get young people into their first jobs and create strong transitions between school years and from high school to college and careers.” In that post, President Obama spoke of his time working at his first job, at an ice cream shop in Honolulu, and the skills that experience had imparted to him.