Today's News & Commentary — April 10
The Huffington Post reports that a group of workers employed under federal contracts at the National Zoo and the Department of Education have filed a complaint with the Department of Labor “alleging that they’ve been illegally underpaid for years.” The complaint was brought on behalf of the workers by Good Jobs Nation, an organization that “has been trying to pressure the White House to use executive orders to raise wages and benefits for jobs funded by taxpayer dollars.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that a nurses’ union, National Nurses United, has accused University of Chicago Medecine of bargaining in bad faith and illegally inhibiting organizing. The union also contends that the management has met with the nurses directly, rather than negotiating with the union, in violation of federal labor law. One union official said that “We feel like we are reaching a strike point.”
In the wake of reports of large-scale layoffs at Southern California Edison Co., a group of U.S. Senators has called for an investigation into whether the company abused a federal visa program, according to the Los Angeles Times. Democrat Richard Durbin of Illinois and Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who led the bipartisan group, wrote that they were “concerned about recent information that has come to light regarding the abuse of the H-1B visa program by Southern California Edison (SCE) and other employers to replace large numbers of American workers.” Laid off workers, supported by local unions, have alleged that the company hired foreign workers to reduce labor costs.
In international news, the Associated Press reports that thousands of protesters took to the streets throughout France on Thursday as part of “a day of nationwide strikes” that closed schools and the Eiffel Tower, as well as cancelling thousands of flights. The protesters were challenging a number of unpopular proposed measures, including “state funding cuts, planned increases in the retirement age, and business-friendly reforms that could make firing workers easier.”