Weekend News and Commentary – September 28-29

Published September 30th, 2013 -  - 09.30.132


This weekend saw new developments in two major stories we’ve been covering:

First, in Tennessee, a group of workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant is collecting signatures for a petition opposing the UAW’s effort to organize VW’s sole U.S. factory. Volkswagen declined the Wall Street Journal‘s request for comment on the signature campaign.

Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, the Washington Post reports that this weekend, House Republicans approved a spending plan that also delays implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate by one year. The GOP proposal is not expected to have traction in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

Agencies have begun releasing contingency plans in anticipation of the looming shutdown. The Washington Post highlights the impact that a shutdown could have on the nation’s public schools and the Department of Education.

Also in education news, the New York Times Editorial Board examines a recent report by an influential consortium at the University of Chicago analyzing Chicago’s new teacher evaluation system. The Editorial Board highlights the practical and personal dynamics of the new system, as numerous big cities around the country are considering adopting teacher evaluation policies similar to those in place in Chicago.

In other news, the New York Times examines the roots of a growing backlash in both the U.S. and Europe over for-profit employers hiring unpaid interns. Among the catalysts for this backlash is a spat of federal litigation brought by interns arguing that their various internship programs did not comply with federal labor regulations.

On the West Coast, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that a labor action is expected in downtown L.A. this week, as the labor contract for Los Angeles County’s 55,000 municipal employees will expire at midnight Monday. David Green, treasurer SEIU 721 (which represents the employees), argues that due to rising health insurance premiums, the county’s current offer “would essentially be a pay cut for [county] workers, who haven’t had any salary increase in more than five years.”

Finally, in political news, the Wall Street Journal explores how New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has won the support of dozens of private sector unions while raising the ire of government employee unions. The piece explains that “[t]he key issue dividing the labor movement is government spending and taxes.” 

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