Weekend News and Commentary — August 5, 2018

Published August 5th, 2018 -  - 08.05.183


Friday morning, the Metropolitan Opera reached a tentative labor agreement with two of its employees’ largest unions.  The labor agreement is merely tentative at this point because it must still be ratified by the full membership of both unions: Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians (which represents members of the Met’s orchestra) and the American Guild of Musical Artists (which represents the Met’s singers and stage managers, as well as members of its chorus).  Among the hot-button negotiation issues between the sides has been whether the Met should begin holding performances on Sundays to mitigate declining attendance.

CBS and its CEO, Les Moonves, held a conference call with analysts on Thursday to discuss the company’s quarterly earnings report.  However, despite the fact that CBS’s stock value has declined since The New Yorker released its bombshell investigative piece detailing six women’s allegations of sexual harassment and intimidation by Mr. Moonves, the company kicked off the conference call by stating that questions about the allegations against Mr. Moonves would not be permitted.  Perhaps more surprising than CBS’s overt effort to prevent analysts from asking such questions, however, was that analysts on the call actually obliged.  Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reports that “[o]n Twitter, reporters and other observers mocked what they said was the cowardice of the analysts for failing to ask about the scandal.”  More specifically, for example, CNBC reporter Alex Sherman opined that it was “[n]ot a good look for the CBS analyst community, when being complicit is such a hot topic.”

Yesterday marked the third and final day of Netroots Nation, “the largest annual conference for progressives.”  This year’s conference, which was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, included labor-related panels and caucuses such as “Power in A Union: Organizing Your Campaign, Organization or Firm,” “Inside the Media Union Revolution: Organizing Case Studies from The Writers Guild of America, East,” “Same S**T, Different Gains: Securing a Future for The Labor Movement,” “The West Virginia Teacher Strike: Sparking a National Movement for Public Education,” and “What’s a Strike and How Can I Help?”.  Indeed, Kat Stromquist of The Advocate, Louisiana’s largest newspaper, explains how Netroots Nation 2018 offered “a snapshot of the 21st-century labor movement.”

Economist Paul Krugman, a Nobel-Prize winner and columnist for The New York Times, published a strongly worded op-ed piece last week explaining why President Trump should not be referred to as a populist.  Krugman analyzes President Trump’s tax policy, health policy, labor policy, and appointments, concluding that “his administration has been relentlessly anti-worker on every front,” and as such, “Trump is about as populist as he is godly–that is, not at all.”

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