Today’s News and Commentary – October 1
The New York Times reports that NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed an executive order on Tuesday that expanded the city’s living wage law, “covering thousands of previously exempt workers and raising the hourly wage itself, to $13.13 from $11.90, for workers who do not receive benefits.” The order covers employees of commercial tenants on projects that receive more than $1 million in city subsidies. Yet the move also has symbolic power, as state lawmakers prepare to debate whether the Mayor should have the power to raise the citywide minimum wage as well. “Administration officials cast the move as an extension of other policies aimed at reducing the wide gap between rich and poor, like the expansion of paid sick leave and the mayor’s long-term plan to build more affordable housing.”
The Wall Street Journal opinion page is critical of several French unions that went on strike last week after two workers were suspended without pay for drinking rum punch while operating train signals. The piece notes that while labor protests are nothing new in France, this strike comes as President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls are trying to reform the country’s labor laws, and are considering various changes to unions’ power and a possible end to the 35-hour work week.
Reuters reports that Hyundai Motor Corp. reached a tentative deal with its South Korean labor union, potentially resolving disputes and ending strikes that had carried on longer than expected. The union had resumed a partial strike last week after the company bid $10 billion for a plot of land in Seoul on which it planned to build a headquarters and automotive theme park. According to the article, “its winning bid sent shares in the company plunging.”