News & Commentary

November 19, 2014

According to the Huffington Post Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative George Miller held a forum on Capitol Hill yesterday, to which they invited representatives of OUR Walmart, a worker group that has advocated for unionization and living wages at the nation’s largest retailer.  The event was part of an attempt to build support for “legislation aimed at improving low-wage jobs,” including bills raising the national minimum wage, setting “rules for work schedules in the retail sector,” and “address[ing] the gender pay gap.”  The Post reports that the “invitation to members of OUR Walmart was seen as a rebuke by Democrats to the nation’s largest private-sector employer.”  In a statement about the event, Senator Warren said that she was “glad to join Walmart employees today to support efforts to push back against practices by Walmart and other big corporations that make it hard for working families to make ends meet.”

In immigration news, the Los Angeles Times reports that many experts in immigration law believe that President Obama’s proposed executive action on immigration is well within his authority.  UCLA law professor Hiroshi Motomura said that while the President “cannot change the rules for granting permanent resident status or putting noncitizens on a path to citizenship,” he does have “the legal authority to set priorities for enforcement,” including by giving “temporary reprieves to a significant number of unauthorized migrants.”  Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that noncitizens granted a reprieve by the executive order are unlikely to be eligible for health benefits under the Affordable Care Act.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Rusty Hicks has been elected to lead the L.A. County Federation of Labor, a large organization that represents some 600,000 employees in over 300 local unions.  Hicks, who was previously the Federation’s political director, has said that one of his top priorities will be to push for a $15 dollar minimum wage in Los Angeles.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a protest of San Francisco taxi drivers against ride-sharing services like Uber.  Uber, Lyft, and other similar companies had been barred by the state from picking up passengers at airports in June, but San Francisco Airport struck a deal last month allowing the companies to operate there.  One taxi driver said his motivation to protest was the fact that taxis are charged a $4-per-trip airport fee, while ride-sharing services are not.

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