Today's News & Commentary — January 28, 2016
The West Virginia House of Delegates voted yesterday to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law. According to West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the debate lasted over two hours, and the bill passed 55 to 44. The bill will now move to the West Virginia Senate for consideration. Next on the agenda, according to Politico, is a right-to-work bill. The bill passed in the state senate last week, and will pass to the House Judiciary Committee. Politico predicts it will probably survive Democratic Governor Early Ray Tomblin’s likely veto, making West Virginia the 26th right to work state.
The most recent frustration the NLRB has faced in its suit against McDonald’s is the franchise’s resistance to turning over internal documents the agency has requested. According to Politico, the company has claimed the evidentiary material the NLRB seeks is confidential, but NLRB lawyers argue that many of the requested documents are already publicly available in federal court dockets. The NLRB argues the company’s refusal to turn over documents constitutes “strong evidence of bad faith and vexatious conduct designed only to delay this proceeding.” Politico expects the trial will resume mid-February at the earliest.
Last week, the NLRB ruled that Walmart broke the law when it fired 16 workers who went on strike in 2013. Reuters reports the administrative law judge ordered Walmart to offer the workers their jobs back within two weeks and make them whole for lost wages. Walmart maintains it acted lawfully, arguing the fires were legal because the strikes were intermittent and the workers’ absences weren’t excused, and will likely appeal the ruling. You can read the decision here.
The Washington Post reports that the surge of unaccompanied children immigrating into the U.S. has led to an alarming number of children living in squalor, working all hours of the day. Over 125,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since 2011. The Department of Health and Human Services is investigating whistleblower allegations, acknowledging that in the immigration surge of May 2014, the agency relaxed identity requirements for sponsors claiming children in order to place them more quickly. In December 2014, the police found eight teen boys living in cramped, dirty trailers outside of Columbus, Ohio, where they worked at Trillium Farms, debeaking hens and cleaning cages nearly 12 hours a day, six days a week, for $2 a day. Federal prosecutors indicted six people in connection with the trafficking scheme; Trillium Farms claims the company was unaware a subcontractor was engaged in human trafficking. The Post takes a close look into the story.