Today's News & Commentary — February 26
In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker is preparing to sign a right to work bill that the state’s Republicans are fast-tracking through the state legislature, the New York Times reports. Mr. Walker said repeatedly on the campaign trail that right to work legislation would be a “distraction” from more pressing issues. But after Republican legislators announced they had enough support to pass a bill, Mr. Walker’s office said he would sign the bill. Hundreds of union members gathered outside of the Capitol building to protest the legislation. Union members also protested when the committee meeting to discuss the bill was cut short, preventing everyone who wanted to speak from doing so.
The Department of Labor issued a rule yesterday extending leave rights to same-sex couples, the Los Angeles Times reports. The rule provides that medical leave rights will be determined by the law of the state in which the marriage ceremony took place, rather than the state in which the couple lives. Same-sex couples are now able to take up to 12 weeks to care for an ailing spouse.
The New York Times reports that Walmart workers are having trouble making ends meet, even with above-minimum wages. Employees, many of whom work part-time, say they need more hours. Rashad Robinson, the Executive Director of ColorofChange, a civil rights organization, said, “Wages are just the first step in getting Walmart on the road toward being the type of employer that treats its employees with respect, and part of that is to set some standards around hours and work schedules.”
The New York Times reports that it’s much harder for the government to help the middle class than it is the poor. While the administration can implement policies that benefit the poor, the practices of private employers more directly affect the middle class.