Today’s News & Commentary — July 8, 2015
The National Labor Relations Board dropped its latest right-to-work battle, in which it planned to reconsider the 39-year “precedent that forbids unions in right-to-work states from requiring non-union members to pay ‘fair share fees’ when filing grievances with their employer” Politico reports. The NLRB and the United Steelworkers had sought an exception to an administrative law determination that the union violated the NLRA by requiring a non-union member to pay a fee for the grievance process, but they recently withdrew their motions. Congressional Republicans and right-to-work advocates have welcomed to the news.
In the New York Times, Thomas B. Edsall analyses whether job losses from international trade outweigh economic gains. In short, it depends who you ask. Business claims that producing exports creates millions of jobs, and trade reduces costs for import-dependent industries; pro-labor groups contend that the U.S. loses millions of manufacturing jobs to lower-paying countries. Labor groups fear they are losing committed allies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership debate, although Labor’s influence remains strong compared to its spending power (pro-trade groups outpace unions’ spending on congressional campaigns by more than $100 million). Most of all, Edsall notes that the Democratic Party tolerates internal rifts and position changes over trade, unlike other hot-button issues. This tolerance may not last for long.
British and American financial regulators are trying to increase costs of misconduct and risky behavior for top executives—by recovering funds directly from their paychecks. The New York Times reports that the Securities Exchange Commission and the Bank of England have taken steps to recover bonuses from bank executives who participate in or were responsible for conduct that resulted in significant losses to the firm. The proposed S.E.C. “clawback” rules apply more broadly that Britain’s: to almost every company that is traded on one of the stock exchanges.
One downside of reducing the size of the U.S. military: the ripple effect on the communities surrounding an army base. The Washington Post’s Lydia DePillis spotlights Jefferson County, N.Y., whose economy is designed around the Fort Drum base. The County is bracing itself for an announcement in troop cuts—and a loss of a third of the county’s population. Troop layoffs create tensions between the military and lawmakers, who have sometimes put off the military’s requests to close bases.
Pittsburgh joins the growing list of states and cities with paid sick leave laws. A similar law went into effect in Philadelphia in February. Not everyone is celebrating the announcement, however. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, State Senator John Eichelberger proposed legislation to make municipal paid sick-leave laws illegal, but the governor pledged to veto it if necessary.
Politico announces that the Department of Labor’s proposed rule on overtime pay is open for comment. The Department may extend the comment period past the scheduled Sept. 4 deadline, if business stakeholders flood it with comments in opposition, as they are expected to do.