News & Commentary

November 25, 2013

In the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Representative Janice Hahn called on Americans to support truck drivers who move goods from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Last week, some truck drivers called a one-day strike to protest their working conditions. Representative Hahn explained that many of the drivers are improperly classified as “independent contractors” so that their employers can avoid state and federal wage and hour laws. Representative Hahn ultimately suggested that supporting these workers will help create “a fairer and more just economy [that] will benefit all of us.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, companies are expecting more employees to participate in their health insurance plans next year, when the Affordable Care Act will require all Americans to obtain insurance coverage. The Journal suggests that the expected bump in the number of insured employees, in combination with other economic pressures, has prompted some employers to raise workers’ health insurance premiums and deductibles.

The New York Times reports that, in San Francisco, resentment toward wealthy technology workers is building. As the “center” of the technology industry has moved from Silicon Valley to San Francisco, the city has seen an influx in wealth that has driven up housing prices and changed the character of some neighborhoods.

The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal report that, in Germany, hundreds of Inc. employees are going on strike to pressure the company to raise wages. The union (ver.di) says that there will be more strikes in the weeks leading up to Christmas unless the company agrees to pay increases.

In other international news, the Washington Post observes that, in Portugal, workers have been protesting new austerity measures that the government enacted to comply with the terms of a 78 billion-euro bailout. Labor groups have been striking over pay and pension cuts, and some workers have protested in the streets. Magistrates have gone on strike and border guards have participated in walkouts. Today, ferry workers walked of the job.

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