Today's News and Commentary — May 2
The New York Times reports that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a deal with the city’s largest teacher’s union. The agreement will “raise wages 18 percent over nine years in exchange for a $1.3 billion dollar reduction in health care costs.” The union also agreed to the relaxation of certain rules, including those regarding the firing of underperforming teachers. The de Blasio administration is hopeful that the agreement will provide a model for negotiations with other municipal unions, though a spokesman for the police officers’ union stressed that “[t]here is no ‘one contract fits all.’”
Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle announced a proposal to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, according to the Los Angeles Times. Mayor Murray expressed hopes that the proposal, which still needs approval from the City Council, will position the city as a national leader in addressing “the growing problem of income inequality.”
In the Washington Post, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, writes that rising inequality is the most pressing issue affecting the nation ahead of the midterm elections. He argues that successful candidates must “make it worthwhile for working people to vote for them.” To that end, he calls on them to “speak clearly about falling wages and concentration of wealth and capital” and to support “a full range of measures designed to lift the wages of most Americans.”
The Associated Press reports on a protest in New York’s Union Square in honor of International Workers Day. The protesters – labor activists, students, and supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement – called for immigrants’ rights and an increase in the minimum wage.