Today’s News & Commentary — November 10, 2015

Published November 10th, 2015 -  - 11.10.15


Today is a big day for the Fight for $15 movement.  USA Today reports that fast-food workers in 270 cities will walk out at 6 a.m. in the largest organized demonstration yet.  Workers will then assemble later at government buildings to call for the election of candidates in 2016 that support raising the minimum wage.  The day will also include simultaneous rallies by labor groups and low-wage workers in 700 cities, and a protest at the Republican presidential debate.

The final details of the agreement between the United Auto Workers and Ford, previously covered by OnLabor, have been released.  According to The New York Times, “the tentative deal with Ford mirrors the pay increases included in agreements with G.M. and Fiat Chrysler, including a provision that entry-level workers would eventually achieve wage parity with veteran employees.  But the Ford deal calls for an $8,500 signing bonus for union members, compared with $8,000 at G.M. and as much as $4,000 at Fiat Chrysler. If the contract is ratified, Ford workers will get a $1,500 advance on their annual profit-sharing payouts for this year.”  The richer agreement reflects Ford’s relatively better financial situation.  Voting on the agreement will likely begin this week.

Not all automakers are similarly situated to Ford.  The New York Times also notes that Volkswagen has engaged worker representatives about cutting costs following fallout from the company’s reported cheating on emissions tests.  While layoffs have not been explicitly mentioned, they appear to be a possibility.  Volkswagen has 614,000 employees worldwide.

President Obama’s planned immigration overhaul that would protect 5 million people from deportation and allow them to work legally is in jeopardy.  The New York Times reports that a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit denied an appeal by the Obama administration and found a lawsuit brought by 26 states would likely successfully block the plan following trial.  The administration will appeal to the Supreme Court.

According to ABC News, the flight attendants union at major European airline Lufthansa has rejected the company’s latest offer, meaning the work stoppage affecting flight operations will continue.  The contract at issue concerns 19,000 workers.  While the strike is scheduled to last all week, it affected 113,000 passengers on 929 flights on Monday.  Remaining issues include signing bonuses, management/union meetings, and the possibility of transition payments for early retirement.

Writing for The Washington Post, Lydia DePillis looks into the continued regulation of licensed professions in spite of efforts to the contrary by the White House.  DePillis notes that the White House encouraged state governments to reconsider possibly-excessive licensing laws with the help of the Department of Labor, but that members of licensed professions have successfully pushed back and convinced state governments that protections are still necessary.

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