News & Commentary

June 23, 2016

Melissa Greenberg

Melissa Greenberg is a student at Harvard Law School.


Britain votes today on whether to exit the European Union.  The Wall Street Journal reports on the possible effects of the referendum for restaurants and retailers in the UK.  In Britain, 28 percent of workers in the hospitality industry and 15 percent of workers in retail and associated wholesale business are foreign-born.  A possible “Brexit” also has uncertain implications for the British economy as a whole.  Read more at the New York Times.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new study by the Urban Institute has found that the upper middle class is at its largest and richest.  The study defines upper middle class as a household of three earning between $100,000 and $350,000.  While the gap between the top 1 percent and the rest of the population is wider and much more extensively studied, the gap between the upper middle class and the rest of the population has been largely ignored.

A new report released by Oxfam and the Economic Policy Institute found that 43.7 percent of American workers earn less than $15 an hour.  Many of these 58.3 million workers have access to few or no benefits such as paid leave, child care, or retirement plans. The report provides state-be-state breakdowns showing the concentration of low-wage workers and their access to benefits.

According to the New York Daily News, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Jimmy John’s came to an agreement regarding the sandwich chain’s use of non-compete agreements in the state.  Jimmy John’s has agreed to tell its franchisee’s that its use of non-competes in New York are unenforceable, and the chain agreed to stop providing sample non-compete agreements in the hiring paperwork it transmits to its franchisees.  In regards to this agreement, Attorney General Schneiderman stated “non-compete agreements for low-wage workers are unconscionable” because they “limit mobility and opportunity for vulnerable workers and bully them into staying with the threat of being sued.”

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