Today’s News & Commentary — May 31, 2018
The Economist yesterday questioned the wisdom of the NFL’s new national anthem policy and cited Professor Sachs’ recent piece arguing that the policy change was an illegal violation of federal labor law and possibly the First Amendment. The Economist noted that President Trump was unusually vocal in his opposition to players who protested police brutality and racial inequality by kneeling during the anthem, and the magazine expressed skepticism of the president’s suggestion that patriotism required the abridgment of players’ free speech rights.
This American Life dedicated its entire episode this week to the story of LaDonna Powell, a security guard at JFK Airport who alleges rampant sexual harassment, retaliation, racism, and misogyny in her workplace. Ms. Powell details how supervisors filmed and monitored employees without notice, refused them bathroom breaks, and made sexually humiliating comments. The story focuses on how Ms. Powell came to understand how employer abuse operates and how she learned to fight back against it.
With 36 hours left to go in their current contract, Las Vegas casinos and the hospitality employees’ union rushed to reach a new agreement. The union has said that its 50,000 workers may strike if a deal isn’t reached by the time the current contract expires. The union is seeking a 4% annual increase in wages and benefits after several years of below-average wage increases. A strike, if it happens, would be the first city-wide strike in Las Vegas in three decades and could bring chaos to the city’s tourism economy, and could cost the casinos over $10 million a day.
Walmart announced a plan to offer nearly free college tuition for 1.4 million U.S. workers. The plan will allow employees to take classes in person or remotely at three universities, including the University of Florida. The program is limited to employees studying supply chain management or business, though the company says it may expand in the future. Walmart expects roughly 68,000 employees to take advantage of its offer.