Today's News & Commentary — August 22, 2016
Hillary Clinton has been repeating the claim that, under the Obama administration, the US has seen 15 million new jobs. According to the Washington Post fact checker, she’s off by about 5 million, earning her “three Pinocchios.” Clinton seems to be touting the range from the lowest job level during the administration to the job level today—but the low point for jobs happened a year into the Obama presidency. If you count from the beginning of the administration, only about 10.4 million private sector jobs have been created.
A report published today by British charitable group Citizens Advice notes that 60% more women “face discrimination at work for taking maternity leave as compared to last year,” according to Newsweek. Citizens Advice provides information to individuals about financial, legal, and consumer matters. They received many more complaints of mothers being made redundant, seeing a significant reduction of their office hours, or having to assume a more junior role upon returning to work.” Such stories abound despite laws against pregnancy discrimination. The press release and full report are available here.
A piece in Alternet last week, “Union and Conservative, Better Together,” argues that unions have an important effect on shaping workers’ political values—largely, “a communal spirit wins out over a narrow self-interest.” Written by Simon Greer, founder of Cambridge Health Ventures, and Andy Potter, Chief of Staff of the Michigan Corrections Officers/SEIU, the piece explores the trend of workers’ support for Donald Trump. With relatively low union participation today, Greer and Potter explain, it’s no surprise that workers today feel like they must “do it on [their] own.” The authors explain how workers’ conservative and radical values, when filtered through a union, can be “integrated into a true and coherent populist politics that is neither conventionally left nor right.”
Foxconn—the Chinese manufacturer of Apple’s iPhones—saw two deaths, including one suicide, within the last week. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the deaths—especially the suicide, committed by a man in his first month on the job—are on many of the workers’ minds.