Today’s News & Commentary — May 8, 2019


Published May 8th, 2019 - 05.08.195


The biggest internationally coordinated strike by Lyft and Uber drivers is expected to take place today in major U.S. cities and in the United Kingdom, Australia, and South America.  Driver demands vary by organizing group, but include calls for livable incomes, job security, and regulated fares.   A study recently released by the Economic Policy Institute found that Uber drivers earn the equivalent of $9.21 in hourly wages, when taking into account commissions, fees, vehicle expenses, health insurance, and other expenses.  Today’s strike intensifies pressure on Uber to address drivers’ concerns as the company gears up for its highly anticipated IPO on Friday.  Drivers will stop work for 24 hours in San Diego and Los Angeles, for 12 hours in Atlanta, and for two hours during the morning rush hour in New York City.  They also plan to hold rallies outside local Uber offices.  Unlike previous driver demonstrations, workers are asking this time that passengers, too, refrain from using the ride-hailing apps.  In an opinion column for Bloomberg, Noah Smith makes the case that this latest strike reflects a shift in the labor movement away from manufacturing, retail and other increasingly automated industries toward service industries, which involve more human-to-human interaction.

U.S. job openings rose by 346,000 in March to 7.49 million, with much of the gain concentrated in the transportation, warehousing, utilities, construction, and real estate sectors, according to Tuesday’s U.S. Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey.  This marks the biggest increase in U.S. job openings in a year.  However, the Labor Department survey also reports a lag in hiring, indicating that employers are having trouble finding qualified workers.

The Trump administration is appealing a federal judge’s recent reinstatement of an Obama-era rule requiring large employers to report pay data broken down by workers’ sex and race, Reuters reported Monday.  The D.C. Circuit may hear the appeal on an expedited basis, given that the challenged order currently requires companies to submit the pay data by September 30. The federal judge revived the regulation after determining that the Office of Management and Budget’s decision to halt the collection of pay data was arbitrary and capricious.

According to a new report from the International Monetary Fund, technological change could exacerbate the pay gap between men and women.  The IMF found that 11% of women face a high risk of job disruption due to technology, compared to 9% of men.  This disparity is primarily due to the disproportionate number of women in jobs that are prone to automation, the IMF said.

Each job saved or created by the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by President Trump last year comes at a cost of $900,000 to U.S. consumers and businesses, experts at the Petersen Institute for International Economics have found.  The Washington Post notes that this hefty cost is more than 13 times the typical salary earned by a steelworker.

 

 

 

 

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