Today’s News & Commentary — March 8, 2019
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown announced that he will not run for president in 2020. Brown already completed a tour of early primary states, where he emphasized a message of economic opportunity and dignity of work. “We’ve seen candidates begin taking up the dignity of work fight, and we have seen voters across the country demanding it — because dignity of work is a value that unites all of us,” Brown said in a statement. “It is how we beat Trump, and it is how we should govern.”
The Economic Policy Institute reports that the Raise the Wage Act of 2019, which proposes raising the federal minimum wage to $15 by 2024, would result in a pay increase for 38.1% of all black workers and 23.2% of all white workers. Black workers affected by this act are more likely to work in states with a lower minimum wage. The House Education and Labor Committee voted along party lines to advance the bill to the House floor, rejecting seven proposed Republican amendments in the process.
Six states have sued the Department of Labor, challenging the rollback of OSHA’s public reporting requirements. The complaint notes that these requirements, issued in 2016, required employers to submit information annually to three tracking forms, which would help OSHA “better target their workplace safety enforcement programs [and] encourage employers to abate these hazards.” The states allege that OSHA has failed to provide sufficient justification for the rollback under the Administrative Procedures Act.
A group of over 1,800 Amazon employees (made up primarily of working mothers) are waging a campaign to persuade the company to provide backup daycare, a service provided by comparable tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook. The group is scheduled to meet with senior managers in the coming weeks. Bloomberg reports that if the self-styled “Momazonians” succeed, they will have “helped engineer a major cultural shift at Amazon.”
Finally, General Motors shut down its plant in Lordstown, Ohio on Wednesday, cutting roughly 5,400 jobs. The Washington Post profiled the town and spoke with many employees who have struggled amidst the waves of layoffs. The piece notes that the most common proposed solutions — that workers should retrain and switch careers or move — have been inadequate for workers in Lordstown. It concludes that “the nation’s booming jobs market is still leaving vast segments of America behind.”