Today’s News & Commentary — November 18
On Monday, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez visited Boston and participated in panel discussions on Massachusetts’ minimum wage and sick leave policies. (Earlier this month, Massachusetts passed a referendum requiring businesses with 11 or more workers to let employees earn up to 40 hours of paid sick time per year; in June, it raised the minimum wage to $11/hour by 2017.) The Boston Globe reports.
At the L.A. Times, Matt Hansen discusses precedents for President Obama’s potential use of an executive order in immigration reform. President Clinton had previously issued an order to ease deportations of refugees from El Salvador and Haiti. President George W. Bush had issued an executive order allowing the expedition of citizenship processes for military members with green cards.
In Roll Call, Ryan Williams calls for Congress to rein in the power of the NLRB. Williams opines that “from ambush elections to micro unions and now the use of company email systems, the NLRB is succeeding where the [Employee Free Choice Act] failed by systematically lowering the bar for union organizing campaigns and creating the space for unions to test alternative non-profit worker center organizing models outside traditional trade union representation.”
The Wall Street Journal critically discusses the new “gainful employment” rule issued by the Department of Education. Per the Higher Education Act of 1965, for-profit colleges must “prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation” to be eligible for federal student aid. Under the new standard, schools will forfeit federal student aid if their graduates’ annual loan payments exceed 8% of their total earnings or 20% of their discretionary income.
15,000 pilots continue to negotiate terms for a new, five-year labor agreement with American Airlines. The Allied Pilots Association, which represents the pilots and aviators, argues that in absence of a profit-sharing plan, its members should get a bigger raise than currently proposed. The Wall Street Journal reports.
At POLITICO, Nick Hanauer discusses the wane of overtime pay. Though more than 65% of salaried American workers earned overtime in 1975, today, “only workers earning an annual income of under $23,660 qualify for mandatory overtime…. By 2013, just 11 percent of salaried workers qualified for overtime pay.”
Tens of thousands of Italian workers have continued to flood streets and stage protests against a pending new labor law, the Jobs Act. The proposed law, though not yet fully drafted, has been slated to created a more relaxed labor market and roll back a number of labor and employment protections. The New York Times reports.
At the Washington Post, Lydia DePillis discusses the negative public perception plaguing teachers unions, suggesting a strategy that may make them more effective: “evolve into more of a ‘professional’ union, respected for its expertise in the field, as much a part of shaping policy as the politicians — but also an advocate for its members.” DePillis chronicles efforts over the last decade by a number of major teachers unions towards this direction, and the difficulties these efforts have faced.