Today’s News & Commentary — November 6, 2017

Vivian Dong

Vivian Dong is a student at Harvard Law School.

U.S. job growth picked up in October after hurricanes impeded growth in September, but wages remained flat.  Nonfarm payrolls increased by 261,000.  In general, wage growth has failed to keep up with job growth in past few years.  This in part reflects the the tepid rate of inflation, which has been consistently below the Federal Reserve’s 2% target.  Consumer spending has been largely based off of worker’s savings this year.  Such weak wage growth puts a cap on the ability for the overall economy to achieve strong growth.

In-store shoppers have been finding notes from the workers who manufacture clothes for Zara, a major global fashion retailer, stating “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it.”  The notes have been found in Turkish stores only.  The workers who put the notes there are employees of Bravo Texsil, one of the third-party manufacturers that Zara relies upon, which has factories in Turkey.  Bravo workers claim that they are owed months of back pay and severance allowance after their factory shut down overnight in 2016.  They have started a Change.org petition to raise awareness of their concerns.  Bravo Texsil also makes clothes for Mango and Next, two other global fashion retailers.  Inditex, Zara’s parent company, states that it is working on creating a hardship fund for the workers affected by Bravo’s closure.

The Writers Guild of America will examine routes of recourse after DNAInfo and the Gothamist network of local news websites were shut down last week.  A week after workers at DNAInfo and Gothamist successfully voted to unionize, Joe Ricketts, the publications’ billionaire owner, announced that he would be shutting down the two websites and their local spinoffs.  In September, Ricketts published a blog post titled “Why I’m Against Unions at the Businesses I Create.”  Ricketts founded DNAInfo in 2009, but only acquired the Gothamist network of websites in March this year.

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