Today’s News & Commentary — September 18, 2015
Ending their prolonged summer vacation, students returned to Seattle schools yesterday, after a weeklong teachers strike. The union will vote on a new contract this Sunday, reports the New York Times. Students and teachers will make up the six missed days by extending the school year or shortening breaks.
Wednesday’s census report on income and poverty revealed that African Americans have struggled the most in the wage economy. Although earnings for black women rose after 2009, they have declined sharply since 2011, according to Politico. The race wage gap is pervasive: black women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by white women. The Congressional Black Caucus places jobs high on its agenda for its legislative conference this week.
Workplaces can be deadly. The Labor Department released a study finding that worker-related deaths in the U.S. rose last year to the highest levels since 2008. The Wall Street Journal reports that of the 4,679 fatal work injuries in 2014, the greatest increases were in the private sector industries of manufacturing, mining, agriculture and construction. In spite of the Obama administration’s emphasis on enforcing workplace safety rules, workplace fatality rates have held at slightly more than three per 100,000 full-time workers.
When Pope Francis visits New York, he’ll meet with a specially requested group—migrants and refugees. Specifically, he’ll sit down with car washers, farm workers, day laborers, immigrant mothers and unaccompanied minors. The New York Times tells the story some of those car washers who will represent their industry in the meeting. The “car washeros” are mostly migrants from Mexico and Central America, who have engaged in a years-long fight to unionize carwashes in the city. One of those union members selected to meet with the Pope expressed his excitement: “I am happy and humble, but I am representing the other workers.”