Today’s News and Commentary – July 15
Professors Catherine Fisk and Benjamin Sachs discuss Harris v. Quinn at the Chicago Tribune, arguing that “unions should not be required to represent workers who do not want, and who decline to pay for, such representation.”
The New York Times reports that negotiations between the Long Island Rail Road’s union and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority appear to have collapsed on Monday. Anthony Simon, leader of the railroad’s largest labor group, estimates that there is “a 95 percent chance” of a strike. Strikes could begin as early as five days from today.
The New York Post opines that the L.I.R.R. union should not count on Congress for solutions. Though under the federal Railway Labor Act, Congress can impose terms on the parties to end an L.I.R.R. strike, the Post noted that many lawmakers have already said they won’t get involved, Further, a Republican House would not likely support the Presidential Emergency Board which has been formed to help resolve the dispute.
Reuters reports that Samsung has halted business with a Chinese supplier suspected of using child labor. The decision follows a report from the U.S.-based China Labor Watch, which reported finding “at least five child workers” without contracts at the supplier, and Samsung’s process for monitoring labor standards “ineffective.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that 900 unionized workers at Bombardier, Inc. – a large Montreal-based transportation-equipment manufacturer – have walked off their jobs after contract talks with their company collapsed. According to the union, Unifor Local 1075, the company is seeking concessions in benefits and pensions.
At the Washington Post, Jared Bernstein highlights a new study from the Urban Institute comparing the share of adults without health insurance in two groups: states with and without the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. Since September 2013, the percentage of uninsured adults fell six points in expansion states, and only 1.7 points in non-expansion states. By Bernstein’s account, these indicators suggest the Affordable Care Act is “doing what it’s supposed to be doing: covering the uninsured and controlling costs.”
W*USA 9/ CBS report that a new law in Washington D.C. will prohibit employers from asking about criminal history until after an applicant is offered a job. On Monday, the D.C. City Council unanimously passed the “ban-the-box” measure, which will go into effect once D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signs the bill.
At NPR, IKEA U.S.’s acting president Rob Olson discusses the company’s recent voluntary increase of its minimum wage. “By taking better care of our coworkers,” says Olson, “they will take better care of our customers, who will take better care of Ikea. We see it as a win-win-win opportunity.”
Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, was detained this morning at a Border Patrol checkpoint at the McAllen, Texas airport. Vargas, an undocumented Filipino immigrant and high-profile leader of the immigrants’ rights movement, was travelling with a valid Filipino passport but no U.S. visa. The New York Times reports.