Today’s News & Commentary — August 8, 2017
NLRB Chairman Philip Miscimarra will leave his position upon his term’s expiry in December. Miscimarra wrote in an undated letter to NLRB employees that though he had been “encouraged to consider a reappointment,” he has informed the White House that he cannot remain past the term for family reasons. Miscimarra has criticized many of the pro-labor opinions issued by the NLRB throughout the Obama era. Prior to joining the NLRB, Miscimarra was a partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, a law firm noted for its management-side labor law practice. If and when the Senate confirms William Emanuel’s nomination, the NLRB will have its first Republican majority in almost ten years.
Kansas City residents will vote today on whether to raise the city’s minimum wage from $7.70 to $10, and eventually $15 in 2022. The vote will be purely symbolic, as the Missouri state legislature passed a measure in May barring municipalities from increasing the minimum wage above the state floor, pre-empting local action. The May measure pre-empted an earlier St. Louis city ordinance raising the minimum wage to $10, so that St. Louis workers making minimum wage will see their wages revert back later this August to $7.70. In response, local SEIU chapters are organizing for a statewide referendum proposing a $12 minimum wage across Missouri.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai released a letter to employees, available also to the general public, regarding a widely-circulated internal memo by a male engineer at Google criticizing gender diversity initiatives and claiming biological differences account for women’s underrepresentation in tech. Pichai announced that the memo’s author had been fired. Pichai recognized employees’ rights to express their opinions, especially with respect to the wisdom of company policies, but stated that “to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.” Damore confirmed that he has been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes,” and stated that he will be exploring legal remedies. Before Damore was fired, he had submitted a charge to the NLRB accusing Google and attempting to silence him after the memo’s release sparked a furor.