Weekend News and Commentary: June 7-8
Facing competition from Uber, the app-based car service, taxi drivers in Chicago have organized into a union. With guidance from the New York taxi driver’s union, Chicago drivers formed the United Taxidrivers Community Council which currently has 300 members. Chicago joins a number of localities that have recently challenged the abundance of Uber cars. However, according to Peter Ali Engler, the chief organizer for the Chicago union, a taxi strike might “just be an excuse for more ride-sharing drivers [like Uber] to be driving.” Union leaders across the country and the AFL-CIO are also contemplating a national taxi drivers’ union.
While economists celebrate the fact that private-sector employment in the U.S. has returned to pre-recession levels, public-sector employment continues to lag significantly behind. Just last December, the level of public-sector employment reached a low of 21.83 million jobs. State and local governments have cut jobs for years as they faced budget deficits. There are also fewer employees in the federal government than there were in December 2007.
Although Seattle’s minimum wage is an enormous victory, workers across the country still face challenges. The Washington Post reports that “minimum wages rarely keep up with the devaluation of the dollar.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Canada’s economy this month was boosted by the addition of almost 55,000 part-time workers. But while the number of part-time workers was the largest added in almost four years, the number of full-time jobs declined by 29,100.
In immigration news, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a strategic partnership between the Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS), which administers AmeriCorps, and the federal government to provide immigration counsel for children. The move comes after a surge of unaccompanied minors crossed the southern border in recent months. The government plans to issue $2 million in grants for 100 lawyers and paralegals to represent them in the immigration court system.