Today’s News & Commentary — April 9, 2018

Published April 9th, 2018 -  - 04.09.185


The NLRB general counsel’s office has asked the NLRB to withdraw its February decision to vacate Hy-Brand, the decision that reversed Browning-Ferris and thereby made it harder for companies to be held jointly liable for the labor violations of their contractors and franchisees.  The NLRB vacated Hy-Brand after the Board’s Inspector General determined that Board Member William Emanuel, as a former partner of a law firm involved in the Browning-Ferris litigation, should not have participated in the Hy-Brand deliberations.  The NLRB is currently locked in a 2-2 partisan split.  John Ring, partner at management-side law firm Morgan Lewis, is awaiting Senate confirmation for the fifth spot.

The Oklahoma teachers’ strike enters its second week today.  Fifty-eight of the five hundred school districts will remain closed.  The Oklahoma Education Association has demanded a $10,000 raise over the next three years as a condition for ending the strike, as well as more funding overall for education.  OEA President Alicia Priest has specifically listed the state’s capital gains tax deduction and repeal of the hotel-motel tax bill as targets for revenue-raising for education.  Only Mississippi and South Dakota pay their teachers less than Oklahoma.

China’s plans to impose harsh new tariffs on key U.S. agricultural products like soybeans, corn, wheat, and beef are putting many rural farmers at financial risk.  The United States exports almost $20 billion a year in agricultural goods to China, including half of its annual soybean production.  China plans to impose a 25% levy on soybeans.  The agricultural tariffs came in response to President Trump’s new tariffs, which itself are part of a broader, escalating trade war between China and the United States.  President Trump’s actions have created an opening for Democratic contenders in the Upper Midwest districts hardest hit by the tariffs.  Democrats are criticizing the President’s actions and promising more stability for farmers.

The New York Times reports on the 10-year “baby window” the contributes to the pay gap between men and women.  Research shows that married heterosexual couples make similar salaries early in their careers, but upon the birth of the couple’s first child, the woman’s salary dramatically declines relative to her husband’s, and often never fully covers.  A recent working paper by the Census Bureau shows that when women have their first child before 25 or after 35, they are able to eventually close the pay gap with their husbands.

On Friday, Federal authorities seized Backpage.com, a classified advertising site primarily used for advertising sex work.  Early in 2017, the website shut down its “adult services listings” in response to pressure from law enforcement groups accusing the website of playing host to sex trafficking.  However, many of the adult ads were simply rerouted to other sections of Backpage.

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