Today’s News & Commentary — November 3, 2016
Today, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) strike enters its third day, and Philadelphia subway, trolley and bus services remain halted. According to The Wall Street Journal, more than 4,700 transit workers have been off the job since early Tuesday when they walked out over issues including wages, pension benefits, and health insurance coverage. On Tuesday, a judge issued an injunction for a small piece of the strike, barring picketers from interfering with the Regional Rail services. As Ben Sachs wrote yesterday, SEPTA representatives have said they will seek an injunction ordering employees back to work for Election Day if the strike continues through next Tuesday.
Less than two weeks after offering its 1,500 employees voluntary buyouts, The Wall Street Journal laid off dozens of employees yesterday in an effort to consolidate its print edition. As reported by POLITICO, some employees will have the opportunity to reapply for their jobs, but amidst financial woes, the paper announced it will undergo a substantial consolidations to accompany staff cuts.
Echoing the uptick of stories regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, The New York Times published a story about the persistence of sexual harassment in politics. Senators Claire McCaskill, Patty Murray, and Kirsten Gillibrand, in addition to female staffers from Capitol Hill shared stories of sexual harassment by male members and staffers alike. Women spoke of their experiences in a political culture where, according to Senator McCaskill, “[t]here’s an insular atmosphere, and people get heady with power.” Unlike federal agencies, which are subject to mandatory training and policies as set by the EEOC, Congress has set standards for itself which, according to the article, are less stringent than those it has established for federal agencies. In an environment where women account for roughly 19 percent of Congress, many of the women interviewed said the culture of sexual harassment will likely not change until more women fill the halls of Capitol Hill.
The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would leave rates unchanged while sending new signals that it could move at the next meeting in mid-December. While most Fed officials agree the labor market has improved significantly over the past year, inflation has run below their 2% target for more than four years, providing little urgency for raising rates.