Weekend News & Commentary — August 23-24
Several labor unions participated in a demonstration on Saturday over the death of Eric Garner, a black Staten Island resident who died in police custody. The New York Times reports that the police officer’s union and some members of the United Federation of Teachers criticized labor groups for joining the protest.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing criticism over a recently passed initiative to supplement the wages of school bus drivers, monitors, and mechanics. During the 2013 mayoral election, de Blasio and other candidates promised the Amalgamated Transit Union to revisit contracts that reduced workers’ salaries.
A new paper presented by two economists on Friday argues that job losses suffered during the Great Recession were caused by issues that predate the Recession, such as a slowdown in small business creation and an increase in occupational licensing requirements. At the same conference, a leading scholar of labor markets predicted that computers do not pose a threat to middle-skill jobs. He argued that humans will still be needed for decision-making, problem-solving, and adaptability, the New York Times reports.
The New York Times has published readers’ responses to an editorial advocating for the end of teacher tenure. The paper also published responses to another education-related editorial, critiquing market-based approaches to education reform.
The National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention have financed a new study that found flexible hours increase employees’ happiness and decrease stress.
The taboo against openly discussing salary information may be lifting. Obama’s efforts to increase pay transparency coupled with websites like Glassdoor.com and Payscale.com are partly responsible for the shift, according to the New York Times.
In immigration news, a group of women and children detained at the Artesia facility in New Mexico have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security. The plaintiffs are arguing that the Department’s speeding up of the deportation process violates their due process rights, the Los Angeles Times reports.