Today’s News & Commentary — February 21, 2019
In the Wall Street Journal, President Trump’s failed Labor Secretary nominee, Andy Puzder, comments on Amazon’s decision to withdraw its plan to build a second headquarters in New York City. Puzder argues that progressive groups won a victory for workers in the Amazon case — but not for the reason they think. He says that workers will win when Amazon relocates its plans to Virginia, Tennessee, or other rumored states because their salaries will go much further in these low-cost, “more capitalist than socialist” regions. Of course, Puzder is speaking only of Amazon’s highly paid white-collar workers, not its warehouse workers, who might appreciate New York’s higher minimum wage. Puzder also blames unions for Amazon’s withdrawal, and notes appreciatively that unions are much weaker in Virginia and Tennessee. Puzder is the the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, which was recently sued by Towards Justice and several state attorneys general for its illegal use of noncompete clauses for fast-food workers. David Seligman and Brian Shearer discussed the application of antitrust law to such employer activity recently right here at OnLabor.
Southwest Airlines blamed its mechanics’ union for flight delays and cancellations last week. The airline and the union have been locked in contract negotiations for years over issues of pay, benefits, overtime, staffing shortages, and safety concerns. The FAA has increased its oversight of the airline during the labor dispute, concerned that it could harm passenger safety.