fresh voices from the front lines of change







BREAKING: Job Growth Weakens In March

Monthly net new jobs drops below 200,000. NYT: “The labor market’s yearlong streak of robust monthly job creation was broken on Friday with the Labor Department’s report that employers added just 126,000 workers in March, a marked slowdown in hiring that echoed earlier signs that the economy slowed significantly over the winter.”

Corporate America Co-opting Populist Rhetoric

Corporations mixing progressive rhetoric with wage increases, reports Politico: “…big companies are buckling under pressure to address the problem of wage stagnation and workplace issues. And they’re embracing the favorite language — if not the full-fledged policies — of the political left … In January, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told all of his executives to read Thomas Piketty, the famed progressive economist, and then went and established a $16 an hour wage floor for all of the company’s employees … This change in tone seems partly designed to blunt the efforts of two union-backed groups: Fight For $15, bankrolled by the Service Employees International Union, and OUR Walmart, backed by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.”

HuffPost’s Alexander Kaufman explains “Why Corporate America Is Finally Raising Wages”: “For some companies, the pay raise has been compelled by a sense of ethical leadership … Other firms have been motivated by the desire to maintain market share … As the U.S. economy continues to add jobs, even retailers who claim to keep prices low in part by minimizing payroll expenses must increase how much they pay their workers to avoid losing them.”

Evangelical conservatives angry at businesses over opposition to anti-gay laws. WSJ: “There have long been tensions between religious conservatives and the business wing of the Republican Party, often centering on how much emphasis the GOP should put on social issues like abortion as opposed to core economic policy. The religious-liberty measures are a relatively new flash point, igniting just as potential 2016 presidential candidates are beginning to jockey for a place on the party’s political spectrum.”

Obama To Announce New Green Jobs Initiative

Obama to push green jobs in Utah today. The Hill: “The Obama administration is aiming to train 75,000 workers — many of them military veterans — for the solar power industry. The goal is a 50 percent increase from President Obama’s last commitment on solar training, announced last May. Obama will announce the goal along with efforts to achieve it Friday at Hill Air Force Base in Utah…”

Big support for climate action and progressive taxation in latest ABC/W. Post poll: “…opposing a no-tax pledge has the broadest base: Seventy-two percent of Americans hold this view, including big majorities across party lines … Americans by 59-31 percent say they want the next president to be someone who favors government action to address climate change, and 58 percent call it an important issue … Among those who oppose action, far fewer say it’s important to them, 39 percent.”

Sanders Stumps For Chuy

Sen. Sanders campaigns for Chuy Garcia in Chicago, ponders presidential bid. W. Post: “‘I’m here because we need a political revolution in this country,’ Sanders said … Sanders declined to set a hard deadline for himself to reach a verdict [on 2016.] ‘We will make the decision when we have to make the decision,’ he said.”

Self-described “Reagan Republican” bankrolling Mayor Emanuel. NYT: “Mr. Emanuel’s single biggest donor, [investment firm owner Kenneth] Griffin, 46, has given more than $1 million to political organizations that support the mayor … The two do not always see eye to eye … But when it comes to taxes, Mr. Emanuel and Mr. Griffin share similar views.”

Breakfast Sides

Pressure on Hillary Clinton to oppose fast-track. The Hill: “Credo Action unveiled a petition on Thursday calling on the former secretary of State and Democratic presidential front-runner to publicly oppose trade promotion authority … The only hint on her stance, so far, was in her memoir released last year. ‘It’s safe to say that the TPP won’t be perfect — no deal negotiated among a dozen countries ever will be — but its high standards, if implemented and enforced, should benefit American businesses and workers,’ she wrote.”

RI settles with unions over pension cuts. NYT: “The settlement, which affects 59,000 current and past state employees, modifies the overhaul by providing adjustments to the minimum retirement age, the chance for more frequent cost-of-living increases and an increase in the defined-benefit pensions available to longtime public employees. It still must be approved by the General Assembly.”

Highway trust fund won’t go bankrupt until July. The Hill: “The new deadline comes as lawmakers are scrambling to find a way to pay for an extension of a transportation funding bill that is currently scheduled to expire in May.”

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