Today’s News & Commentary — March 29, 2016
The major story today is the Supreme Court’s ruling in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, upholding public-sector union agency fees. The Atlantic and The New York Times have more on the decision. Our complete coverage of the case can be found here.
California’s move to gradually raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour has also garnered headlines. Writing for The Washington Post, Jim Tankersley and Lydia DePillis note that it would give California the highest state minimum wage in the country and “would put the state in uncharted territory, carrying both hope and danger for workers in the nation’s largest economy.” In The New York Times, Noam Scheiber and Ian Lovett report that “by moving toward a plan to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, the state could raise living standards for millions of workers. But it could also increase unemployment among some of the very same economically marginal workers the wage increase is intended to help.”
Free trade has emerged as a major issue in the presidential election, and commentators are taking notice. Paul Krugman writes in The New York Times that “rhetorical claims aside, Republicans have long tended in practice to be more protectionist than Democrats. And there’s a reason for that difference. It’s true that globalization puts downward pressure on the wages of many workers — but progressives can offer a variety of responses to that pressure, whereas on the right, protectionism is all they’ve got.” Also in The New York Times, Eduardo Porter argues that Nafta may have saved many autoworkers’ jobs.
Finally, The Wall Street Journal reports on the spread of workplace democracy, noting that some companies “let employees vote on hiring, holiday parties and other issues.”