Today’s News and Commentary – March 19

Published March 19th, 2014 -  - 03.19.1411


Despite facing opposition from some quarters of the labor movement, venture capitalist Bruce Rauner has won the nomination to serve as the GOP’s candidate in the Illinois gubernatorial race.  The Chicago Tribune reports that Mr. Rauner is running on “a decidedly anti-government union theme alleging the state workforce has been featherbedded and overpaid.”

New York City has agreed to settle a long-running legal dispute over claims that the city’s fire department intentionally discriminated against minority applicants.  The New York Times and Wall Street Journal explore the background and details of the nearly $100 million settlement.

British retailer Primark will to pay $9 million in long-term compensation to the nearly 580 workers (or their next-of-kin) who made its clothes at Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory, which collapsed last year leaving more than 1,100 dead.  The Wall Street Journal reports that Primark’s decision has been criticized by workers’ rights groups, who are upset that Primark won’t be anchoring a collective compensation plan.  That plan would apply to all 3,000 Rana Plaza workers (or next-of-kin), but won’t kick off until it meets its $40 million target.

Emily Badger of the Washington Post Wonkblog examines how the labor market has changed in the past decade.   In what she describes an “unprecedented ‘great age twist’” jobs have become scarcer for those just entering the labor market, while employment rates have increased for those at or near retirement age.

A bond insurer has sought to intervene in the Detroit bankruptcy and is challenging the City’s treatment of a group of creditors that provided $1.4 billion for City pensions.  Both the Journal and Times report, with the Times speculating that the filing might lead to a fight to claw back funds from the pension system, “which would throw a wrench into Detroit’s efforts to cushion its workers and retirees from some of the pain as it attempts to resolve its outsized debts.”

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