Today’s News & Commentary — June 8, 2017

Published June 8th, 2017 -  - 06.08.1725


Testifying before a House of Representatives subcommittee, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta highlighted apprenticeships and job training.  These topics also seem to be current priorities for President Trump.  Secretary Acosta’s testimony predictably signaled efforts to change the overtime rule and the fiduciary rule (which we described here and here), both from the Obama era.

In Massachusetts, worker Jose Flores broke his femur in an on-the-job accident and filed for worker’s compensation against his employer.  When he went to a meeting arranged by the employer, Flores encountered ICE agents, who detained him and started deportation proceedings.  Commentary on Flores’ case highlights how fear of immigration consequences chills reporting (which we discussed here) and illuminates the need for such reporting: wage theft is rampant, 40% of workplace injuries and illnesses are not paid for by worker’s compensation, and workplace deaths are on the rise.

July 1, 2017 will see a paid sick leave requirement take effect in both Chicago and Cook County.  The city passed its ordinance in June 2016 and proposed regulations in May 2017.  Comment on those regulations remains open until June 16.  Cook County passed its ordinance in October 2016, with regulations approved last month.  Municipalities may opt out of the county’s requirement before July 1, 2017, and many already have.

In the New York Times’ opinion pages, Jared Bernstein argues that “a robust, highly progressive agenda has been coming together” among Congressional Democrats.  This agenda includes a stipend for families with children, direct job creation, expansion of the earned-income tax credit, and a higher national minimum wage.  Hoyt N. Wheeler responds that such an agenda must include efforts to revive the American labor movement.

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