Today's News and Commentary — July 4
The Labor Department reported on Thursday that the U.S. added 288,000 jobs in June and that national unemployment has fallen to 6.1 percent. The New York Times reports that low-wage sectors, like retail and restaurants, also made gains.
In a victory for Illinois public-sector unions, the state’s highest court ruled on Thursday that the Illinois Constitution protects health insurance subsidies for retired state workers. The lawsuit challenged a 2012 law that permitted the state to charge retired workers for health insurance premiums, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Wall Street Journal reports that labor leaders plan to challenge a recent overhaul of the state’s pension system on similar grounds.
Cynthia Estlund and William E. Forbath published an editorial in the New York Times about the recent Harris v. Quinn decision. The law professors argue that “the real anomaly lies in according dissenters a right to refuse to pay for the union’s services — services that cost money to deliver, and that put money in the pockets of all employees.”
The Los Angeles police officer’s union and city officials have reached a tentative agreement which would increase cash payments for overtime but not provide a salary raise to most officers. Members of the Police Protective League have not yet ratified the agreement, according to the Los Angeles Times. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio has reached an agreement with the city’s largest municipal union. If the contract is ratified, about 60 percent of city employees will be working under a labor contract, according to the New York Times.
In a controversial new law, German lawmakers have approved the country’s first minimum wage, according to the Wall Street Journal. The BBC reports that the wage will be 8.50 euros, higher than the minimum wage in the United States and the United Kingdom. Previously, German trade unions and business groups set the minimum wage.
Immigration protests continue in Murietta, California, reports the New York Times. The recent influx of migrants has revitalized the issue in a state where Latinos are an powerful voting bloc, according to the Los Angeles Times.