Today's News & Commentary — March 19, 2015
The New York Times reports that Target plans to raise its wages to a minimum of $9 per hour for all of its employees starting this spring. Target currently has approximately 347,000 employees in the United States. Last week, Target that it will lay off 1,700 employees at its corporate headquarters. Several other large retailers, including Wal-mart and TJX (which operates TJ Maxx, Marshals, and Home Goods) recently announced wage increases for their lowest paid employees. These moves are seen as a response to labor pressure and an attempt to stave off larger state or federal minimum wage increases.
In Washington, Congress sent a bill to President Obama today that would block a new NLRB rule designed to speed up union elections, the Washington Post reports. The NLRB rule, which we’ve previously covered, would lessen the time between when a union requests an election and when it occurs. The Republican-controlled House already passed a bill blocking the rule; the Senate passed an equivalent bill today. President Obama has stated he will veto the bill, and it appears that Republicans in Congress do not have enough votes to override the veto.
Texas has sued the U.S. Labor Department over its new rule that defines “spouse” to include same-sex spouses for the purpose of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), according to Politico. The FMLA requires covered businesses to grant their employees unpaid leave for medical reasons, including caring for a family member. Under the new rule, which takes effect March 27, the FMLA will cover same-sex spouses if the employee was married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages.
The Wall Street Journal reports that more American seniors are delaying retirement and working for more years. According to the Journal, the number of workers over 65 years old has increased by 3.5 million since 2000.
In political news, Politico reports that Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) is introducing a bill to help pay for child-care for low- and middle-income families. The bill would expand the Child and Dependent Tax Credit to include families making up to $120,000 per year.