Today's News and Commentary- March 3
The Wall Street Journal reports on the escalating tension between the Metropolitan Opera’s labor and management. The Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, explains that faltering ticket sales and declining revenue from high-definition broadcasts require the opera to cut costs. He proposes a plan that would reduce costs by changing work-rule expectations, health insurance deductibles, and compensation. Alan Gordon, head of the union, finds the management’s proposal to be “a declaration of war by the Met against its performing artists.”
The Hill notes efforts from Governors Malloy (Conn.), Shumlin (VT), Chafee (RI), and Patrick (MA) to bring their state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. According to Governors Chafee and Shumlin, the New England states may act together to raise their wages at the same time, thus avoiding businesses shopping among states for the lowest minimum wage.
In light of stagnant wages nationwide, New York Times Editorial Board calls for “higher minimum wage; trade pacts that foster high labor and regulatory standards; and more support for union organizing.” The Board reviews the most recent research into the factors driving wage increases and finds that just obtaining a college agree is no longer enough to guarantee higher salaries.
In international news, Bloomberg reports that Japan’s auto-industry labor unions are asking for higher wages. The more than 900 Japanese auto-industry unions represent about nine percent of the nation’s labor force. The unions are arguing for a share of the massive profits many Japanese car companies collected this year. Prime Minister Abe appears to support their efforts.