News & Commentary

November 4, 2019

Lolita DePalma

Lolita De Palma is a student at Harvard Law School.

In the aftermath of the Chicago teachers’ strike, which ended on October 31, students and teachers are struggling to catch up on missing work. Some high school seniors who were unable to take the SAT during the strike have now missed early admission deadlines. A few Illinois state schools have responded by extending admissions deadlines for CPS students. While the missed days of school did place a burden on parents and students, many parents and students appreciate the strike’s gains in securing a greater number of social workers and nurses throughout the district.

On Sunday, Instacart shoppers began a three-day strike for better pay. The company recently announced that it was cutting default tips from 10 percent to 5 percent. Since Instacart customers rarely change the default tip, this new tipping structure means less money for the workers. Instacart shoppers also want the company to remove the 5 percent service fee. This fee does not go to the workers and further reduces the amount customers are willing to tip. Since shoppers only make about $7 per batch and have to pay for gas, tips are essential.

The New York Times touted the success of labor organizing that targets a sector of employment rather than a single employer. Pushing for sector-specific minimum wages has allowed labor to bypass the partisan divide that has frozen the national minimum wage at $7.25 for a decade. Economist Ben Zipperer said, “This is for middle-income workers. Having sectoral standards can have a much broader effect than just raising the minimum wage.”

A Forbes article found that unions provide the strongest guarantee of financial security for American families. Union members are wealthier than non-unionized employees. They also have more benefits, including health insurance, retirement benefits, and life insurance.

A Wall Street Journal opinion attacked official measures of income inequality on the basis that they do not accurately account for government transfers. Based on the authors’ analysis of how government and private programs redistribute wealth, they conclude that there is only a 3.8 to 1 gap in the income received between the top and bottom quintiles.

McDonald’s fired its chief executive Steve Easterbrook for engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee that violated company policy. Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald’s USA, will replace Mr. Easterbrook.

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