Today’s News and Commentary — November 20

Published November 20th, 2013 -  - 11.20.132


A post on the New York Times Economix blog evaluates the claims made in a New York Post article entitled “Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report.” The Times blog argues that the article’s allegations “don’t add up.” Among other rejoinders, the Times notes that allegations involving a group of employees altering the survey numbers in one office would be unlikely to alter the results of the nationwide survey, which covers 54,000 household interviews per month.

An article in Businessweek describes the “touchy union politics” in Tennessee that German automaker Volkswagen is confronting. VW is seeking to create a works council at its 2,500 person Chattanooga plant, and the company’s executives have stated that under U.S. law it would “need to work with a union” to create such a council (the article notes that it is unclear whether this articulation of U.S. labor law is correct). Although Volkswagen believes works councils give it a competitive advantage, Tennessee politicians have “criticized efforts by the United Auto Workers to unionize the VW plant.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the Associated Builders and Contractors is challenging parts of a new Labor Department rule “requiring federal contractors to prove they’re taking steps to hire minimum numbers of disabled workers.” The lawsuit seeks an exemption for the construction industry from certain data collection and analysis requirements, and from the setting of a 7% target for the percentage of disabled workers hired by federal contractors. These new requirements are part of the Department of Labor’s updating requirements under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Department’s original press release regarding the rule can be found here.

United Teachers Los Angeles organized a protest on Tuesday against the city’s $1 billion plan to provide all students and teachers with iPads, the Los Angeles Times reported. “About 15 teachers, parents and [union] representatives” gathered to argue that the plan was unsustainable and reflected misplaced priorities.

In international news, the Wall Street Journal reports that Poland’s government approved a draft law for a pension overhaul plan. The plan involves canceling approximately $86 billion in privately managed sovereign bonds and moving them back to state control. The law will need to be debated in parliament, where the ruling government “holds a razor-thin majority.”

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