News & Commentary

January 12, 2016

The big news yesterday was the Supreme Court’s oral argument in Friedrichs.  Our round-up of commentary can be found here, but suffice it to say that the consensus opinion seems to be that the prospects for the survival of public sector fair-share fees can be summed up in one word: terrible.

Detroit teachers stayed home yesterday to protest their working conditions, resulting in the closing of most of the city’s schools, according to the New York Times.  Participating teachers said they hoped their actions would spur the state’s lawmakers to push through better school funding and to draw attention to “unsafe, crumbling, vermin-infested, and inadequately staffed buildings.”  The large-scale protest followed a month of similar but smaller protests that shut down a few schools at a time. Although the teachers union did not support the protests, which were organized by its ousted former president, the union president said she understood the complaints of the protesters.

Lydia DePillis at the Washington Post reported that HR consultants have become worried that workers across the company have become “disengaged” from their jobs.  Part of the blame, she explained might be attributed to the consulting fad of flattening corporate hierarchies.  This “stripping out levels of bureaucracy” has in turn led workers to feel like they’re stuck in their jobs with no means of climbing the corporate ladder.

In lower-profile Supreme Court news, the Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari filed by food giants Nestle, Archer Daniels Midland, and Cargill seeking to have a lawsuit dismissed that alleges the companies “aided and abetted child slave labor on cocoa plantations in Africa,” according to the Wall Street Journal.  The plaintiffs are three Malian laborers who filed the class-action lawsuit in 2005, alleging that the companies “facilitated human-rights abuses through business relationships with Ivor[y Coast] farmers who are critical to the chocolate industry.”  Nevertheless, in order for the suit to move forward, the plaintiffs will have to amend their complaint to meet pleading requirements.

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