Today's News and Commentary–October 14
The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and San Francisco Chronicle all report that, last night, San Francisco Bay-area transit unions postponed their strike deadline by 24 hours; the new deadline is 11:59 tonight. For months, the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 (SEIU) and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 (ATU) have been negotiating a new labor agreement with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) management. Last week, the unions announced that they would strike if a deal was not reached by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, October 13. Union leaders said that they were close to a deal on Sunday afternoon when BART management put a surprise “last, best and final” offer on the table. The unions did not accept this offer (which will remain open for two weeks), but agreed not to strike until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, giving the parties 24 more hours to work out an agreement.
The Los Angeles Times reports that California Governor Jerry Brown signed eleven immigration-related bills into law this year, including a bill that protects undocumented workers from employers who threaten to report their immigration status. The article notes that Governor Brown appears to be embracing “new immigrant rights” more than he did when he was running for office three years ago.
Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times observed that, on Sunday, rioters took to the streets of Moscow to protest an influx of migrant workers from the Northern Caucasus and from foreign countries. The New York Times called the riots the “biggest outbreak of anti-migrant unrest in the Russian capital in three years.”
In other international news, the Wall Street Journal reports that tens of thousands of teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico are expected to return to school today after nearly two months of striking. Parents of the 1.3 million children who were shut out of their schools vowed to block the teachers’ return. The children are currently attending schools that were opened by parents and teachers from a nonstriking union.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that, for twelve hours this weekend, the managing director of a Bangladeshi apparel company was held captive by workers demanding salaries and severance payments. The apparel company, where 112 employees were killed in a factory fire last November, is one of many Bangladeshi employers struggling with strained labor relations.
Meanwhile, the New York Times observes that energy-exporting Gulf States (such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia) are struggling to find trained employees to fill new jobs in the energy sector. This problem has been exacerbated by the fact that the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman have all sought to limit the number of expatriate and migrant workers within their borders.