Today’s News & Commentary — July 26, 2018
The Eleventh Circuit revived a suit brought by the NAACP against the state of Alabama for its law pre-empting Birmingham’s minimum wage hike. The NAACP argued that the Alabama law intentionally discriminated against black workers, who would have benefitted disproportionately from the increase wages. In allowing plaintiffs’ claims of constitutional violations to go forward, the court wrote that “[t]oday, racism is no longer pledged from the portico of the capitol or exclaimed from the floor of the constitutional convention; it hides, abashed, cloaked beneath ostensibly neutral laws and legitimate bases, steering government power toward no less invidious ends.”
The candy maker Necco abruptly shut down a production factory in Massachusetts after it was sold. The company, which had been at risk of shutting down production permanently earlier this year, had seemed to catch a break when an investment company bought it at a bankruptcy auction. But now its future is unclear, and the 230 workers at the Revere plant do not know if their jobs will return.
Mattel, the toy manufacturer, announced that it would lay off 2,200 workers – over 20% of its workforce. The move comes after the bankruptcy of Toys R Us, one of the biggest retailers selling Mattel’s toys, which include Hot Wheels and Barbie dolls. The layoffs are part of a wide-ranging attempt to cut costs at the company, which posted a 14% drop in revenue in the last quarter.
The Federal Labor Relations Authority advised the U.S. Department of Education that it likely violated federal law when it cut employee compensation and benefits earlier this year and limited employees’ ability to engage in union activity. Other departments of the federal government, including the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs, implemented similar new contracts and thus may also risk a finding that they have violated federal labor law. The decision comes after a four month investigation by an independent civil servant, and the federal employees’ union vowed to continue to fight what it sees as rampant bad-faith bargaining by the government.