Today’s News and Commentary — June 20
The New York Times reports that American-born Latinos now make up the majority of the Latino workforce in the country. While immigration rates have declined due to the economic recession, births among Mexicans in the U.S. have increased and contributed to the growing population of American-born Latinos. Since the end of the recession, American-born Latinos have gained 2.3 million jobs. Meanwhile, Latino immigrants lost 340,000 jobs but have gained 453,000 jobs since the economic recovery. In total, the study found that immigrant Latinos made up 49.7% of Latino workers in 2013, a marked decrease from 56% in 2007.
The Metropolitan Opera reported in a tax filing that its general manager, Peter Gelb, earned $1.8 million in pay and benefits in 2012. According to the Met, Gelb has since taken a pay cut. The announcement comes while the Met has sought to cut pay and benefits for its workers during what it calls “one of the biggest financial challenges in its 131-year history.” The Met employs 1,600 full-time and seasonal workers as well as 1,800 part-time workers. At the same time, the tax filing shows that three of the Met’s five highest-paid workers were members of Local I of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Unions continue to contest the Met’s proposals which call for changing work rules related to overtime and extra pay, altering health benefits, and capping pension benefits.
In international news, aircraft mechanics have called off a strike over wages and conditions against the airline Icelandair. The workers had called an initial 24-hour strike on June 16th after the airline failed to successfully negotiate a new contract with employees. In the wake of that strike, Icelandair canceled 65 flights in and out of Iceland’s main airport. However, workers decided to call off continuing to strike after the Icelandic government threatened to ban industrial action at the airline. The Icelandic government has intervened multiple times in collective bargaining in the transport sector in recent months, prompting criticism from opposition groups.
Thailand’s ruling military announced that it would set stricter enforcement of migrant labor in an effort to reduce undocumented workers, forced labor, and human trafficking. More than 150,000 Cambodians, who are present in the construction, fishing, and agriculture industries, have already fled the country after rumors of a military crackdown. A spokesperson for the United Nations’ International Organization of Migration characterized the scope of the exodus as “unprecedented” for the region.