Today’s News & Commentary — April 13, 2016

Published April 13th, 2016 -  - 04.13.162


Donald Trump has angered yet another constituency: his own employees. Since workers at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas voted to join the Culinary Workers Union and the Bartenders Union last December, Trump’s managers have fought unionization. Besides filing 15 objections with the National Labor Relations Board, hotel managers have refused to negotiate for a contract. The Los Angeles Times discusses Trump’s switch from his supporting unions to refusing to negotiate with them.

Koch Industries and the Obama administration usually face off from across the political aisle, but they’re uniting to knock down barriers to employment for ex-convicts. According to Bloomberg, executives from 19 major companies, including Facebook, Alphabet and American Airlines, have signed a pledge to end the practice of asking job applicants whether they have criminal records. In a time when Wall Street often resents the White House for additional regulations, the President hopes to draw in more corporate partners in its criminal justice and rehabilitation initiatives.

It’s been a tough year for Volkswagen, and executives are about to feel the sting. Under pressure from shareholders and labor leaders, the company’s board might call on executives to give up a portion of their bonuses, reports the Wall Street Journal. Volkswagen management is also trying to assuage the company’s works council by jointly developing a long-term strategy for the brand alongside labor representatives.

After leading the charge for a $15 minimum wage in California, some unions are seeking an exemption for their members. The Guardian explains that union leaders argue the exemption “would give businesses and unions the freedom to negotiate for better agreements,” with flexibility to balance lower wages against better benefits. Critics of the exemption declare unions are merely trying to get more members and dues to support their political agenda. But SEIU president Mary Kay Henry brushed off the criticisms that the Fight for $15 campaign costs too much. She told the Guardian that the movement has changed the conversation in the country and raising wages for millions of workers, and “there is not a price tag you can put on” that change.

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