News & Commentary

March 9, 2016

Hannah Belitz

Hannah Belitz is a student at Harvard Law School.

According to Politico, the Department of Labor has sued Lear Corporation, a foam cushion manufacturer, for “suspending and terminating employees who reported workplace hazards in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”  DOL has requested that Lear reimburse the workers “amounts equal to loss of wages and other benefits suffered by reason of such unlawful discrimination, plus interest.”  The Labor Department’s statement is available here, and the complaint is available here.

As the threat of a rail workers’ strike looms, New Jersey commuters “are preparing for the worst.”  The New York Times notes that although the New Jersey Transit and its rail workers made progress in Tuesday negotiations, they have yet to reach an agreement. Negotiations are expected to resume on Thursday.

The Department of Justice is suing Volkswagen for up to $46 billion for violating U.S. environmental laws.  At a meeting on Tuesday at Volkswagen’s German headquarters, VW’s labor chief warned that the amount of damages could force the company to cut jobs.  As Foreign Policy points out, “the remarks could be interpreted as a clear message to Washington: back off, or prepare for layoffs.”

In international news, the New York Times reports on a teachers strike in the West Bank. The strike began on February 7 in response to an undelivered promise of a 2.5 percent pay raise.  Instead, the teachers received only a 1.5 percent pay increase.  The strike has now “spiraled into the largest demonstrations in the West Bank in years, and a broad challenge to the Palestinian Authority.”  In response to the strike, the Palestinian Authority has threatened the teachers with arrest and mass firings.  Meanwhile, parents worry about when their children will return to school.

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