News & Commentary

April 2, 2018

Ross Evans

Ross Evans is a student at Harvard Law School and a member of the Labor and Employment Lab.

The Huffington Post examines how the SEIU’s “Fight for $15” campaign–intended to to raise fast-food workers’ wages to fifteen dollars an hour in many urban areas–has been affected by the Trump administration.  Available data indicates that the SEIU decreased its fast-food organizing expenditures from $19 million in 2016 to $10.8 million in 2017, following an overarching organizational trend of budget cuts after President Trump’s election.  However, Sahar Wali, a spokesperson for the SEIU, retorted that the these numbers represented “false conclusions” and insists that the “SEIU is committed to the Fight for 15.”

Despite the availability of free training programs, factories in Mason City, Iowa can’t fill many of its manufacturing positions, The Wall Street Journal reports.  Mason City seems to be a microcosm of the Midwest region, a twelve-state area in which the number of available jobs outpaces the number of unemployed residents by 180,000.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to sign a bill on Tuesday that will provide an additional $18 million for job-training programs–a move that is in line with the ongoing efforts of other Midwestern states such as Wisconsin and Indiana.  Additional training for workers, however, does not change the fact that the Midwest region has suffered a net outflow of more than 1.3 million net residents since 2010.  Indeed, the Midwest “attracts fewer immigrants than the rest of the country,” and thus, “Midwest employers are more dependent on filling jobs with workers who already live there.”

An analysis of governmental labor data, conducted by the Associated Press, shows that Black Americans are consistently underrepresented in high-paying sectors such as law, business, architecture, education, and STEM fields–and overrepresented in low-paying sectors such as food service and building maintenance.  This troubling pattern holds true in sectors across many metropolitan areas such as Boston, Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

Peter Schaumber, former NLRB chairman under George W. Bush, criticized the Obama-era NLRB and offered suggestions to Trump’s NLRB in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that was published yesterday.


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