Today's News & Commentary – January 23

Published January 23rd, 2015 -  - 01.23.155


Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, New York City’s largest police union, will face challenges in the union election later this year. Lynch assumed a high profile when he “openly clashed” with Mayor Bill de Blasio over the killing of two patrol officers in Brooklyn last month. Among the challengers are veteran union trustees and Brian Fusco, a 27-year-veteran officer. Some union officials have criticized Lynch for his attention to politics which they see as a distraction to the “more pressing safety needs of officers in the street.”

The LA Times reports that President Obama must work closely with states to achieve workplace initiative goals. The president hopes to require companies with 15 or more employees to provide full-time employees with seven days of sick leave per year and to encourage states to create paid family leave programs. The article describes California’s success in implementing existing state initiatives under the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 and the State Disability Insurance program’s Paid Family Leave. President Obama has asked the Department of Labor for up to $1 million from the current budget to be allocated to competitive grants to “help states conduct feasibility studies on family leave programs.” He is also expected to request $2.2 billion in the new budget to help five unspecified states implement family leave programs.

Days after President Obama’s State of Union speech The Wall Street Journal‘s graphical depictions of the “state of the economy” remain relevant. Notably, the unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since President Obama first took office. During his first two years in office, the president had “the worst two initial years of any president since John F. Kennedy” in terms of job growth. Despite signs of economic recovery, however, the median household income has been on the decline since 2000. Currently, the median household income is lower than it was during President Obama’s first year in office.

According to Politico, a group of minority fast food workers at McDonald’s filed suit yesterday against the corporation for violating their civil rights. The ten workers (nine of whom are African American) are supported by the SEIU and the NAACP. They allege employment discrimination and sexual harassment by Soweva, one of the corporation’s franchisees, arguing that the McDonald’s Corporation failed to correct such conduct. By naming the corporation in the complaint, the suit challenges “the legitimacy of McDonald’s’ contractual agreement with franchisees, which stipulates that McDonald’s Corp. can’t be held liable for any labor law violations committed in their restaurants.” McDonald’s faced legal hurdles last year when the NLRB announced that the corporation was a “joint employer” with its franchisees. We previously covered this development here.

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