Today's News and Commentary — November 28

Published November 28th, 2013 -  - 11.28.131


Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney reminds us that many families are going hungry this Thanksgiving.  Following Congress’ cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or foods stamps), which took effect on November 1, food banks continue to report increased demand.  The New York Times has a powerful photo essay documenting the New Yorkers who are waiting in line at food banks this week.  The lines get longer the last week of the month as families run out of food stamps.  And as the article reminds us, it’s no longer primarily homeless people looking to food pantries for their meals: of the 2.6 million New Yorkers who are unable to purchase enough food, 500,000 are children and a growing portion are the elderly living on fixed incomes.

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that the small business health insurance marketplace will not offering enrollment until November 2014, according to the Washington Post.  This is a full year delay from the original start date for that exchange: October 2013.  The administration explained delay as due to continued focus on improving the individual insurance exchange, Healthcare.gov.  The administration hopes to double the capacity of that website by Sunday, in the expectation that some individuals will use the holiday weekend to navigate the website and purchase insurance.

If you’re looking for labor-related reading for the long holiday weekend, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Department of Labor is compiling a list of books that have “shaped the American workplace and culture.”  This initiative is in honor of the Department’s 100th anniversary.

While not book length, Philip Cohen at the New York Times has an in-depth analysis of why women’s success in the labor market has stagnated since the 1990s, and must we can change to “jump-start the struggle for gender equality” at work.  He argues that occupational segregation by gender is a key culprit.

 The Washington Post reports that the ballot initiative raising the minimum wage increase in SeaTac, which we reported on yesterday, is headed towards a re-count.  Because the initiative passed by less than 1% of votes cast, opponents have the right to request a recount.

New York City filed a lawsuit against the Rikers Island correction officers’ union alleging they engaged in an unlawful work slowdown on November 18, according to the New York Times.  The union alleges that on November 18th, bus drivers who were assigned to drive prisoners to court and doctors’ appointments found problems with 33 buses, and therefore did not drive them.  The city alleges that the busses were in working order, and instead the slowdown was a coordinated attempt to “protest the prosecution of other correction officers for illegal activity.”  The city argues that the slowdown violated a New York law that forbids public employees from striking.

N.Y.U. announced that it would recognize the graduate student teaching assistant and research assistant union if a majority of graduated students vote to unionize, according to the New York Times.  The union is affiliated with the United Auto Workers.

The Associated Press reports that a bankruptcy judge has approved the American Airlines and U.S. Airways merger, clearing the way for the two companies to create the world’s largest airline.

Finally, Roll Call reports that IRS will release proposed regulations to rein in 501(c)4 campaign spending on Friday.  501(c)4’s are tax-exempt non-profits that may use some of their resources towards electoral campaigns.  These regulations would not take affect before the 2014 election.

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