Today's News & Commentary – July 3
According to The Washington Post, more Americans are in part-time jobs today than before the recession. The U.S. government defines “part-time work” as jobs that average less than 35 hours per week. Although the economy made gains in the job market for the fifth month in a row, economists are now worried that the 26 million part-time workers may herald a permanent polarization of the American workforce.
Tensions continue to erupt as the nation tries to accommodate the influx of migrants (especially minors) from the southern border. California protesters have opposed the transfer of migrants from other facilities into the state. The protesters have already forced vehicles carrying migrants, who could not be held in Texas due to overcrowding, to be rerouted to other locations in California.
In international news, The World Street Journal reports that Italy is negotiating with labor unions about proposed job cuts at Alitalia SpA, the Rome-based carrier on the brink of bankruptcy. The Italian government is hoping that Etihad Airways will buy a minority stake and invest in the airline. Etihad Airways wants to cut 2,251 Alitalia workers, bringing the workforce to a total of 11,470. Unions have been unwilling so far to budge in the face of demands by the government and Etihad.
In South Africa, 220,000 workers in the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa went on strike on Tuesday. The workers are demanding a 12% wage increase, while their employers insist on a raise between 7% to 8%. The strike has affected 10,500 metal and engineering companies, which account for about 4% of South Africa’s GDP. The country has been hampered by a five-month strike by platinum workers, 25% unemployment rate, and slow economic growth in recent times.