Today’s News & Commentary — January 13, 2020


Published January 13th, 2020 - 01.13.2031


On Sunday, the Department of Labor announced a final rule for its updated regulations on joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new rule relies on a four-factor balancing test to determine joint employer status, considering “whether the potential joint employer (1) hires or fires the employee; (2) supervises and controls the employee’s work schedule or conditions of employment to a substantial degree; (3) determines the employee’s rate and method of payment; and (4) maintains the employee’s employment records.” The department has also chosen to identify factors that will no longer be considered relevant to determining joint employer liability. Overall, the rule significantly cuts back on the expanded joint employer definition that was adopted during the Obama Administration.

On Saturday, the French government retracted its proposal to raise the full-benefits retirement age from 62 to 64 in response to weeks of crippling strikes and protests. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe wrote to union leaders saying that he would “provisionally” withdraw the proposed changes to the age requirement. The strikes and demonstrations are likely to continue, however, as many unions demand that President Macron abandon the reform plan entirely. But support for the strike has decreased in recent weeks, with only 452,000 currently protesting (down from 800,000 when the strike began on December 5th).

St. Louis County snowplow drivers, along with bridge workers, building maintenance workers, part specialists, and snow plow mechanics, represented by Teamsters Local 320, have rejected the county’s final contract offer. The workers have been fighting for increased maximum sick leave accrual, as well as increased health-care coverage. The membership could go on strike as early as Tuesday morning. Teamsters Local 320 Secretary-Treasurer Brian Aldes said, “The membership is standing strong. . . . They feel empowered and they feel good.”

SEA/SEIU Local 1984, based in New Hampshire, has chosen to act separately from its national affiliate, SEIU, and endorse Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. SEIU continues to remain neutral in the endorsement process.

A new study has found that raising the minimum wage reduces suicide rates among working-age adults without a college degree. The 26-year study finds strong links between income and mental health. And it is just one of four recent studies to find a correlation between higher minimum wages and lower death rates.

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