Today’s News & Commentary — February 4, 2020


Published February 4th, 2020 - 02.04.2035


The Trump administration continues its regulatory rulemaking push. Bloomberg Law reported yesterday on a proposed rule submitted to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) by the U.S. Department Labor last Friday that would require unions to disclose various kinds of financial information related to union trusts. The rule was proposed last May. Submission to OIRA suggests the final rule will be issued soon. The rule would likely require many unions to disclose information about their trust funds, including information on how unions disburse funds from those trusts. The rule comes out of the Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards, tasked with enforcing the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. The George W. Bush administration had previously tried to promulgate similar rules involving union trust reporting, but those efforts were thwarted by multiple court challenges brought by the AFL-CIO under the Administrative Procedure Act.

The New York Times published an investigative piece on Victoria’s Secret’s internal workplace culture over the weekend. The piece describes how two top executives within the country “presided over an entrenched culture of misogyny, bullying and harassment.” The investigation, which included interviews with current and former employees revealed repeated complaints against company executive Ed Raznek, complaints that some interviewees said led to retaliation against the complainants. The investigation comes as the company itself struggles financially. Labor protections in the modeling industry are relatively weak, and activists have long been concerned that the unique pressures workers within the industry face – coupled with traditional workplace concerns, such as wage theft or worker misclassification – tend to go underemphasized by the broader labor movement.

Yesterday, Cards Against Humanity purchased comedy website ClickHole.com from G/O Media. The card game company reportedly paid an undisclosed amount of cash for the website. BuzzFeed News reports that, as a result of the deal, ClickHole will become a majority employee-owned company. Max Temkin, one of the cofounders of Cards Against Humanity, stated that ClickHole will operate independently, with the card game company providing financial support. G/O Media – particularly the company’s CEO Jim Spanfeller – has been in the news frequently in the last year, as the company shut down the politics website Splinter, saw mass resignations at its popular sports website Deadspin in November, and is currently feuding with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) over plans to move what’s left of Deadspin from New York to Chicago.

Focusing on a different upcoming electoral contest from the one many followed last night, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday on an important 2020 election that everyday voters will not be casting ballots in. United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), the union representing over 30,000 teachers in Los Angeles, will elect a new president (and vote on various other union officer positions). The current president of UTLA, Alex Caputo-Pearl, who helped lead the six-day teachers strike in January of last year, is barred by term limits from running for reelection. Some within UTLA are casting the upcoming election as an internal referendum on last year’s strike. Union voters will still be able to find Caputo-Pearl’s name on the ballot as he runs for one of UTLA’s vice president slots.

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