Today's News and Commentary — September 25

Published September 25th, 2013 -  - 09.25.132


The New York Times Editorial Board endorsed a proposed SEC rule implementing the Dodd-Frank provision requiring “public companies to compute and disclose the ratio of a chief executive’s pay to that of a typical employee.”  The rule is now open for public comment for the next 60 days. 

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal (and here), and others have been reporting and assessing the implications of the IPO filing of Chrysler Group LLC, which took place on Monday.  The filing is the result of the inability of Chrysler’s majority owner, Italian car company Fiat, to reach a private deal to buy out the United Auto Workers union health trust’s minority stake.  The United Auto Workers health trust was established during the 2009 government-led bankruptcy restructuring of Chrysler to provide for the medical benefits of Chrysler’s retirees.

Salon reports that a one day, nonunion strike will take place today among cleaning and concession workers in certain federally owned buildings.  The strikers will petition the federal government to put pressure on federal contractors to raise labor standards.  The strike is being organized by Good Jobs Nation, which has the support of the SEIU and other community allies.

An article in the Wall Street Journal today discusses trends in toilet manufacturing, noting that the toilet manufacturing industry is a “microcosm of U.S. manufacturing trends.”  Although companies are not adding new manufacturing plants, companies now prefer to add capacity at U.S. and Mexican plants rather than Pacific plants to decrease shipping times and avoid rising ocean-shipping costs.

The Washington Post reports that some of the largest publicly traded companies are changing their practices regarding disclosure of political contributions.  The changes come as a result of shareholder pressure from retail investors, state treasurers, and union pension funds, both in the form of shareholder proposals and through pressure on the SEC to adopt a rule requiring such disclosures.

Internationally, French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroën offered to increase French factory production and put off any plant closures until at least 2016 if it reaches a cost-saving agreement with labor unions, the Wall Street Journal reports.  Renault SA signed a made an agreement with its unions along similar lines earlier this year.

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