Today’s News and Commentary – August 9
Weighing in on the recent strikes by fast-food workers, Jared Bernstein’s piece in today’s New York Times aims to debunk arguments against a higher minimum wage.
In labor politics, the AFL-CIO is celebrating the return of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, part of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka’s ongoing efforts to win back unions who defected to the rival labor federation Change to Win.
The Wall Street Journal reports that an “eclectic group of businesses” is coming together to support immigration reform, with industries from mushroom farms to senior-care facilities looking to benefit from the proposed expansion in visas for low-skilled laborers.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has made “no discernible progress” in terminating state employees who care for the developmentally disabled and who are guilty of abuse, according to the New York Times. The administration blames the caregivers’ union for the lack of progress, arguing that the government’s efforts to get more aggressive have been “hamstrung” by the collective bargaining agreement.
Firefighters who respond to airport emergencies are profiled in this NYT story, which looks at the challenges posed by their unique workplace. Meanwhile, the widow of one of the 19 Arizona firefighters who died in a massive wildfire is fighting for health and pension benefits after her late husband’s employer, the City of Prescott, denied her claim.
The Washington Post features a Q&A with the chairwoman of the Merit Systems Protection Board, which has received over 26,000 appeals from federal employees seeking to recoup pay lost due to furloughs imposed by the budget sequestration, while the L.A. Times reports that Pentagon civilian employees will face 6 days of furloughs in 2013, a large decrease from initial estimates of up to 22 days.