Today's News and Commentary — June 13

Published June 13th, 2014 -  - 06.13.14


News outlets around the country today continued to weigh in on Tuesday’s decision in Vergara v. California.  In the Los Angeles Times, Jack Schneider argues that instead of making it easier to fire ineffective teachers, “we should be channeling our energies into building teacher capacity” by promoting professional development.  Meanwhile, Jesse Rothstein, a Berkeley professor of public policy and economics who provided expert testimony for the defense in Vergara, argues in the New York Times that “eliminating tenure will do little to address the real barriers to effective teaching in impoverished schools, and may even make them worse.”  The New York Times Editorial Board, on the other hand, writes approvingly of the decision.  The Washington Post reports that the ruling has divided democrats, “revealing fissures in the once-solid alliance between labor unions and the Democratic Party.”

In the wake of the Seattle City Council’s unanimous decision to gradually raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour, the International Franchise Association has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the proposed increase, according to the Associated Press.  The Seattle law requires large businesses to begin paying the higher wage more quickly than small businesses. The suit claims that the ordinance “unfairly and irrationally discriminates” against small and independently owned franchises by treating them as large businesses if the national franchise network to which they belong collectively employs more than 500 people.  The complaint alleges that this system runs afoul of both the Dormant Commerce Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, as well as “numerous other constitutional provisions, statutes, and legal doctrines.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a labor dispute between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) and its workers appears to be heading towards a strike after SEPTA moved unilaterally to give workers raises that management had proposed.  The unions representing the workers called the proposed raises unacceptable; they have insisted that the workers should also receive a retroactive wage increase and an increase in pension benefits.

Observing that Virginia Congressman “Eric Cantor’s defeat has resulted in great speculation about the future of immigration politics,” the New York Times provides “a brief overview of where the public stands on immigration.”  According to polls, a majority of Americans support giving illegal immigrants a chance to remain in the country.

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