Today's News & Commentary — April 27, 2016

Published April 27th, 2016 -  - 04.27.161


According to the New York Times, 2,000 full time employees of the upstate New York-based Chobani yogurt company recieved ownership stakes in the company yesterday which could be worth up to ten percent of the company in total if it is sold or goes public.  The number of shares will be calculated by the amount of time each employee has worked for the company, which was founded in 2005, with some employees receiving shares which could be worth over $1 million.  The shares are coming directly from Hamdi Uklaya, Chobani’s founder, who still owns a “vast majority” of the company.  Ulukaya stated of the transfer, “I’ve built something I never thought would be such a success, but I cannot think of Chobani being built without all these people…. Now they’ll be working to build the company even more and building their future at the same time.”

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and AFSCME, the largest state employee union in Illinois, began a hearing before the Illinois Labor Relations Board Monday over whether negotiations which have been ongoing for almost a year are at an impasse.  The Chicago Tribune reported that attorneys for the governor allege that the parties have “enormous” differences in positions and ask that the Board officially declare an impasse, which may leave the union with no choice but to accept the governor’s terms or strike.  The union, however, contends that the administration is taking a deliberate hard bargaining stance and refusing to give key information in order to force a lockout or a strike.  The previous contract, which covers nearly 38,000 state employees, expired in July.  The hearing is scheduled to continue through the end of May.

The L.A. Times looked into possible impacts of a fifteen dollar minimum wage, as was recently passed in California and New York, on different aspects of employment and inequality.  While the L.A. Times contends that there is little to no impact of “modest” increases in minimum wage on overall employment, it is difficult to predict the impact of the $15 hike.  However, some possible consequences identified include an increase in unemployment among minority youth, a decrease in wage inequality within states, an increase in inequality between “red” and “blue” states, and the possibility that some low-wage employers will increasingly hire under the table.

The New York Times announced Tuesday it would be laying off approximately 70 employees in Paris as part of its changing strategy for its international edition.  The layoffs are subject to consultation with the French works council under French labor law.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the layoffs come at a time when multiple publishers are “eliminating positions through buyouts and layoffs”; the Times eliminated 100 positions in 2014.

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