News & Commentary

August 16, 2016

Maia Usui

Maia Usui is a student at Harvard Law School.


About half of the private-sector workers in the United States do not have any type of employer-sponsored retirement plan.  Next week, California could become one of the first states to take measures against this coverage gap, when it votes on a plan that would automatically enroll most uncovered workers in individual retirement savings accounts.  If passed, California’s plan could serve as a “national model,” according to The New York Times, in ensuring post-retirement security for American workers.

new poll suggests that what union members want is choice.  In a survey of 300 rank-and-file union members across the country, almost 70% are reported to believe that employees should represent themselves if they decide not to pay dues.  While unions continue to challenge right-to-work laws in the courts, researchers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy argue based on these findings that workers should have the choice to opt out of paying dues — as long as they then handle their own representation instead of “free-riding” on a union.

Earlier this month, in a move designed to narrow the wage gap between men and women, Massachusetts became the first state to prohibit employers from asking about applicants’ past salaries before offering them a job.  This week, commentators at The New York Times consider what other measures could help combat wage inequality, from greater wage transparency to prohibiting the practice of negotiating for higher salaries.

Lastly, with some voters feeling disillusioned over America’s two leading political parties, The Atlantic takes a closer look at the Working Families Party, which landed significant victories in last week’s Connecticut primary.  The party’s latest proposal is a “low-wage employers fee,” which would require large companies to either pay their employees $15 an hour, or be charged by the state for the cost of the public services their employees use.

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