Biden Regulator Passes Rule with Massive Implications for Millions of Workers

FTC Chair Lina Khan

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule Tuesday banning noncompete agreements nationwide, affecting millions of Americans.

Regulators argue that banning noncompetes will promote competition by giving workers greater ability to switch jobs, increasing innovation and leading to more businesses being created, according to an announcement from the FTC. The FTC estimates that around 18 percent of U.S. workers, or 30 million people, are covered under a noncompete, with the new rule applying to anyone not in a senior executive role, which is defined as someone who is making more than $151,164 and in a policy-making position.

Read More

Big Corporations Try to Clean Up Their Act After Reports of Rampant Child Migrant Labor

Farm Workers

U.S. companies are conducting full-scale audits and shifting “focus” after multiple reports revealed child immigrants were working in increasingly dangerous conditions, according to The New York Times.

In 2023, the Department of Labor opened an investigation into companies like Lucky Charms and Cheetos after reports of immigrant children working in dangerous conditions while thousands of children have crossed over into the U.S. in the last several years. Many other companies, including McDonald’s, Whole Foods, Costco and more, have announced that they are conducting full audits to prevent migrant children from working in dangerous conditions, according to the NYT.

Read More

Biden Admin Releases New Labor Rule Cracking Down on Independent Contractors

Remote Worker

The Department of Labor announced Tuesday the final version of a rule that will force companies to recognize some workers as employees instead of independent contractors.

The new rule goes into effect on March 11 and rescinds a previous rule establishing independent contractors as a separate class of workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act that was put in place in January 2021 under the Trump administration, according to the DOL release. The rule could raise labor costs by up to 30% for employers who utilize independent contractors, such as app-based services like Uber or Lyft, which offer a freelancing model, as employers would have to adhere to minimum wage and overtime laws, according to Reuters.

Read More

Biden Official Bankrolls Group Claiming Charter Schools Teaching ‘Classics’ Are ‘Far-Right’ Ideologues

A Biden administration official is a major donor to an organization that characterized Christian charter schools teaching a classical education as “far-right” ideologues attempting to advance “Christian nationalism.”

The Department of Labor’s Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee and her partner Mark Simon gave at least $5,000 in 2022, the highest level of sponsorship, to the Network for Public Education, a left-wing activist group focused on promoting public schools, according to the organization’s sponsors page. The Network for Public Education released a June 2023 report which notes that “right-wing ideology” is growing in charter schools that teach a “classical” or “traditional” education.

Read More

Jobless Claims Soar to Highest Levels Since 2021

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims increased more than expected to 261,000 in the week ending June 3, the Department of Labor (DOL) reported Thursday.

Claims rose 28,000 compared to the previous week’s revised level, the highest number since October 2021, when it was 264,000, according to the DOL. This substantially exceeded the median forecast, which was 236,000, according to MarketWatch.

Read More

Top Biden Nominee Ordered Staff Not to Cooperate with ICE, Memo Shows

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Labor previously ordered staff at her former post to not cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to a memo that Republican lawmakers obtained.

Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, whom Biden has tapped to lead the department permanently, previously headed the California Labor Commission. During her tenure in that posting, Su authored a memo directing staff not to voluntarily cooperate with federal immigration agents and to ask that they leave the premises, Fox News reported.

Read More

Commentary: It’s Time to Take the Unnecessary Politics Out of ESG and Retirement Savings

New York Stock Exchange

Increased politicization of “environmental, social and governance” (ESG) factors in investment has resulted in one side claiming it only promotes social and political objectives, and the other side claiming that ESG is always relevant to making sound investment decisions.
 

President Biden’s veto of a Congressional resolution, regarding recently finalized amendments to a 2020 Department of Labor (DOL) administrative rule on retirement security, has brought ESG to the forefront again. The DOL’s amendments address how fiduciaries of a person’s 401(k)s and private pension funds make decisions about their retirement savings and the role of ESG in making those investment decisions. The DOL, under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974), regulates private retirement plans. ERISA covers roughly $12 trillion in retirement savings for 150 million Americans. 

Read More

Commentary: So Far, Biden’s Nominees Are a Display of Liberal Incompetence But Will Julie Su Surprise Us?

Julie Su, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Department of Labor, is slated to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on April 20. In the meantime, workers across the country might check out how other Biden nominees have fared.

Phillip Washington, Biden’s pick to head the Federal Aviation Administration, has withdrawn his name from nomination. The White House official attributed the action to “an onslaught of unfounded Republican attacks.” Those who watched his March 1 hearing have cause to wonder.

Read More

Pennsylvania Democrats Base Their Pay Equity Bill on Dubious Data

With Equal Pay Day occurring this Tuesday, Pennsylvania Democrats renewed a push to strengthen state and federal pay equity laws, citing workplace discrimination statistics that scholars often find questionable. 

State Senators Maria Collett (D-North Wales) and Steve Santarsiero (D-Doylestown) proposed a bill that would apply the commonwealth’s Equal Pay Law to a broader universe of workers and a greater scope of fringe benefits. The measure introduced unsuccessfully last session, would also bolster employees’ rights to inquire about the wages a company pays and permit workers to collect back wages from employers who courts find in breach of the law. The senators said these changes are necessary because women in Pennsylvania earn 79 cents for every dollar men receive, a disparity of over $10,000 per year.

Read More

Teachers Flee Unions as Membership Plummets by Almost 60,000

The nation’s largest teachers unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), declined by at least 59,000 members during the 2021-2022 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) disclosure reports.

The NEA, the nation’s largest teachers union, lost 40,107 members while the AFT, the nation’s second largest teachers union, declined by 19,078, according to the DOL reports. The decline comes as public schools added 95,000 educators from September 2021 to 2022.

Read More

Report: Fraudsters Stole $45 Billion in Unemployment Benefits Using Dead People, Prisoners

The Department of Labor announced Thursday that 1,000 people have been charged for receiving $45.6 billion of fraudulent unemployment insurance (UI) payments since March 2020.

The pandemic overwhelmed state offices responsible for distributing benefits, with 57 million people filing initial UI claims within five months of March 2020, the DOL-OIG reported. Fraudsters were successfully able to take advantage of the chaos, filing for claims in multiple states, using fraudulent emails and using the Social Security Numbers (SSN) of dead people and federal prisoners.

Read More

Labor Market Remains Tight as Unemployment Ticks Up

The U.S. added 315,000 jobs in August, as unemployment rose slightly to 3.7%, according to data released by the Department of Labor Friday.

The number of unemployed people rose by 344,000 to 6 million, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from July, accordingto the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. A survey of economists conducted by The Wall Street Journal in advance of the report’s release estimated that 318,000 jobs would be added and that unemployment would remain around 3.5%.

Read More

U.S. July Job Gains More than Double What Economists Had Projected

The U.S. economy added 528,000 jobs in June, according to Department of Labor (DOL) data released Friday, more than double economists’ projections of 250,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate edged down to 3.5%, according to the DOL’s report, which was also below economists’ predictions of 3.6%, according to The Wall Street Journal. The economy outperformed last month’s high job growth of 372,000, which had itself outpaced expectations, indicating that the Federal Reserve’s interest rate have not begun to cool off the economy.

Read More

Pennsylvania Tackling 30,000-Case Backlog of Unemployment Fraud

Since the pandemic hit and government relief attempted to ease the pain of economic shutdowns, concerns of taxpayer money being wasted or fraudulently obtained has been a pressing issue.

In Pennsylvania, the state may see a special prosecutor appointed to focus on cases related to unemployment fraud.

Read More

‘A Source of Concern’: Jobs Growth Stalls, Unemployment Rises in May

The U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May while the unemployment rate was largely unchanged at 3.6%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

The number of unemployed people ticked up slightly to about 6 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. Economists projected 328,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Read More

Small Businesses Struggle to Survive in Biden’s Economy: Poll

Small business owners are increasingly pessimistic about U.S. economic conditions and overwhelmingly support an expansion of domestic fossil fuel infrastructure, the latest polling data showed.

Just 27% of small business owners agreed the economy was in “good” or “excellent” condition, according to a Job Creators Network Foundation poll released Friday and shared with The Daily Caller News Foundation. The figure represented the lowest rating of the current economic situation among small business owners since the group began the poll a year ago.

Read More

‘Signs of Slowing’: Unemployment Remains Unchanged as Economists Predict Dim Future

Woman organizing table contents in restaurant

The U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6%, according to Department of Labor data released Friday.

The number of unemployed people remained even at about 5.9 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. Economists projected 400,000 Americans would be added to payrolls prior to Friday’s report, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Read More

Jobless Claims Fall to Lowest Level in over 50 Years

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 187,000 in the week ending March 19, the lowest level in over 50 years, the Department of Labor announced Thursday.

The Labor Department’s figure showed a decrease of 28,000 compared to the week ending March 12, when new claims numbered 215,000, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This week’s claims were well below the predictions of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, who estimated that new claims would total 210,000.

Read More

Jobless Claims Decrease by 15,000

The number of Americans who filed new unemployment claims decreased to 214,000 in the week ending March 12, the lowest level since the beginning of 2022, the Department of Labor announced Thursday.

The Labor Department figure showed a decrease of 15,000 compared to the week ending March 5, when new claims numbered just 227,000, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The week’s claims were below predictions of economists surveyed by Dow Jones, who estimated that new claims reported Thursday would total 220,000.

Read More

Commentary: The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around

Rising inflation threatens the value of Americans’ retirement savings. Now the Biden administration is finalizing a rule to loosen safeguards under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) that protect private retirement savings. The new rule, “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights,” stems from President Biden’s May 20, 2021, Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk, which directed senior White House advisers to develop a strategy for financing the administration’s net-zero climate goals, including the use of private savings. 

Predictably, Wall Street is cheering the prospect of undoing ERISA safeguards. According to one analysis, 97% of comment letters support the proposal. But as I show in my RealClear Foundation report The Biden Administration’s ERISA Work-Around, it’s the remaining three percent that should give the Department of Labor (DOL) cause to rethink its deeply flawed approach.

Under ERISA, retirement savings must be invested for the exclusive purpose of providing retirement benefits. The May 2021 executive order illustrates the very danger that ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule is designed to guard against. To achieve the goals set out in the order, DOL is instructed to “suspend, revise or rescind” two Trump-era rules designed to uphold ERISA’s exclusive-purpose rule.

Read More

Report: Federal Unemployment Benefits Kept Millions from Returning to Work

Increased federal benefits last year perpetuated unemployment and kept millions of Americans from returning to the workforce, a new study released Wednesday reports.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation published the report, which evaluated the impact of federal handouts, particularly the controversial federal unemployment payments of $300 per week. More than two dozen states opted out of the federal program before it was set to  expire last year, citing the elevated joblessness, while blue states largely continued to take the federal money.

Read More

Supreme Court’s Conservative Justices Seem Skeptical of Biden Admin’s Workplace COVID Vaccine Rules

The Supreme Court on Friday hearing oral arguments on two major Biden administration efforts to increase the country’s vaccination rate against COVID-19 — starting with the mandate requiring large-scale employers to require workers to be vaccinated or tested.

In the first case, the National Federation of Independent Business, et al., Applicants v. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, et al.

OSHA is more specifically requiring businesses with 100 or more workers either require them to be vaccinated or et tested weekly and wear masks while working, with exceptions for those who work outdoors.

Read More

Far More Available Jobs Than Workers as Millions Resign

There are 10.4 million job openings in the U.S., the Department of Labor said Friday, a figure that’s well above the number of unemployed Americans.

“Job openings increased in health care and social assistance (+141,000); state and local government, excluding education (+114,000); wholesale trade (+51,000); and information (+51,000),” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. “Job openings decreased in state and local government education (-114,000); other services (-104,000); real estate and rental and leasing (-65,000); and educational services (-45,000).”

Read More