Today’s News & Commentary —April 22, 2019
Stop & Shop workers ended their strike after reaching an agreement with their employer Sunday night, WPRI reports. The strike has been ongoing since April 11, and was triggered by proposed changes to pay and healthcare benefits, Fox Business reports. Many Stop & Shop customers took their business elsewhere as a result of the strike, and the workers had support from several Democratic presidential contenders, as OnLabor previously reported.
Democratic candidates are making significant efforts to win union support in their bids for the presidency, particularly through criticism of corporate power, the Hill reports. The anti-corporate and pro-union messaging from Democratic candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg, reflects a sense that the Democratic party has drifted from its working-class reputation, thereby ceding legitimacy in formerly Democratic strongholds, like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unions, for their part, are waiting longer to endorse candidates than in the 2016 presidential race.
In other electoral news, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the Service Employees International Union of Illinois spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in a failed effort to elect Toni Preckwinkle as the mayor of Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Despite the loss, both unions say they’re proud of successfully swinging the Chicago City Council to the left, and CTU has highlighted the fact that the Mayor-elect, Lori Lightfoot, supported many elements of the CTU’s platform on the campaign trail. Meanwhile, the International Network of Charter School’s political fund saw six supported candidates win in the runoffs, totaling 10 wins out of their 13 endorsed candidates.
The Department of Labor is investigating a prominent hedge fund, Alden Global Capital, over its handling of hundreds of thousands of dollars in pension funds, USA Today reports. Alden is the controlling shareholder of MNG Enterprises, the publisher responsible for over 100 local news outlets, including the Denver Post and the Boston Herald. As much as 90 percent of MNG newspapers’ pension assets were invested in hedge funds controlled by Alden, a potential violation of U.S. retirement laws. An MNG spokesman has asserted that Alden’s investment choices complied with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which safeguards private industry pension funds.