Today's News and Commentary – March 13
The Washington Post reports that “President Obama met with a group of women lawmakers” yesterday “to discuss what he called the ‘burdens’ faced by working women,” including the fact that “women continue to be disproportionately represented in low-wage professions.” The Post notes that these issues will be explored further at a White House Summit on Working Families in June.
The New York Times reports on a “disconnect among Americans: while nearly three-fourths of Americans say they will continue working after retiring from their main job, only 18.9 percent of Americans age 65 or older actually remain in the work force.” The Times highlights the fact that “[m]any workers in their 40s, 50s and early 60s are convinced that they will want to or need to work well past 65 and even after retiring from their principal job, yet many retire earlier than they anticipated.”
The Wall Street Journal reports on American building trades unions continued efforts “to urge President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline,” including by “suggesting there could be consequences for Democrats in the November elections” if he does not.
The New York Times also reports on new trends in labor relations in China in light of “a wildcat strike at an IBM factory in southern China,” in which “[m]ore than 1,000 workers walked off the job last week.” According to the Times, “[t]he strike . . . fits a growing pattern of industrial activism that has emerged as China’s economy has slowed” and “[a] worsening labor shortage has shifted the balance of power in labor relations, while smartphones and social media have helped workers organize and made them more aware than ever of the changing environment.”
In more international news, the Wall Street Journal reports that “IF Metall, an influential Swedish labor union representing 4,000 workers at truck maker Scania . . . has asked Volkswagen . . . for written confirmation that the German auto giant won’t cut jobs and investments if its bid to gain full control of the Swedish company is accepted.” The Journal notes that “IF Metal officials hold considerable sway over how Volkswagen’s bid will proceed and they insist plans to preserve Scania’s workforce be set in stone amid fears that job cuts and investment reductions could be in the cards.”
Finally, the Wall Street Journal also reported on new numbers from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on unemployment in its 34 member nations, finding that unemployment remained steady at 7.6 percent after declining in several recent reports. According to the Journal, “[t]he sustained decline in the jobless numbers suggests the labor market has started to benefit from the modest economic recovery that took root across developed economies last year, but also that it will be some time before the rate of unemployment falls to the levels that prevailed before the onset of the 2008 financial crisis.”