News & Commentary

May 6, 2019

Martin Drake

Martin Drake is a student at Harvard Law School.

The Trump administration is allowing 30,000 new seasonal worker visas this summer, the Wall Street Journal reports.  The number is unexpectedly high, as the administration earlier indicated that it was considering around 15,000 additional of the visas, known as H-2Bs.  Employers use the H-2B program to fill lower-skilled jobs that they can’t find Americans to do.  The additional visas come amidst a contest in the administration between business interests who want more visas, and immigration restrictionists who worry about immigrant workers undercutting American wages.

Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday that he is running to “save capitalism” with new regulatory enforcement and training programs.  Hickenlooper argued that stagnant wages since 1970s, among other things, indicates that “capitalism simply isn’t working.”  He proposes free community college to those who can’t afford it, along with apprenticeships and skills training programs.  Hickenlooper also advocated for the government has to expand the earned-income tax credit and raise the hourly minimum wage to $15 permanently indexed to the regional cost of living.

As Uber gears up for its IPO, with its first shares likely trading this month, Uber drivers are planning to strike this Wednesday in major cities across the country, Business Insider reports.  Drivers in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston will strike from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the day in question in protest of wages and working conditions.  Uber’s main rival, Lyft, held its own IPO in March, and its shares have tumbled over 20 percent since then, Motley Fool reports.

New York farmworkers are rallying in the state capital today to support a bill that would grant them the right to unionize, the Associated Press reports.  The bill, known as the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act, would rescind an 80-year-old law that prohibits farmworkers from unionizing.  It would also grant farmworkers the right to overtime pay and a day of rest, protections to which the vast majority of workers in New York are already entitled, City Limits reports.

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