10:03 AM, Feb 24, 2015 • By JERYL BIER
The same day the White House renewed a push to increase the federal minimum wage, an announcement appeared on the White House blog for the Summer 2015 White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders [AAPI] Internship Program -- all unpaid positions. Even in prior administrations, internships at the White House were unpaid. While rancor over President Obama's $10.10 minimum wage proposal and his continuation of unpaid internships is nothing new, Monday's incongruous pairing of the two issues by the White House may rekindle the controversy.
The minimum wage proposal reappeared Monday on the White House Twitter account. The tweet notes that a number of businesses and states have raised their minimum wage rates, but also calls on Congress to compel all of the nation's businesses to comply with a new minimum:
"Since 2013, 17 states have joined companies like Gap and Walmart to raise their minimum wage" —Obama #RaiseTheWage pic.twitter.com/CeBzHXnunj
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 23, 2015
Later in the day, an announcement regarding internships was posted at WhiteHouse.gov: "Calling All Students: Apply for the Summer 2015 White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Internship Program." The announcement provides details of the program, the purpose of which includes "efforts to improve the quality of life of underserved AAPIs through increased participation in federal programs," but nothing regarding compensation. Only after a prospective intern clicks on another link for more information does the following appear at the very end of the description: "All internship positions at the Initiative are unpaid."
Elsewhere on the White House website, prospective interns are informed that all White House internships are unpaid. Recognizing the hardship this may pose, applicants are encouraged to look to "educations institutions" or "non-profit organizations" for "assistance" with "income, funding or housing assistance":
Despite the lack of monetary compensation for White House interns, the Obama administration has noted the value of paid internships in the past. In a September 2013 White House blog entry by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, the two secretaries related details of a discussion they conducted in Maryland with business, education, labor, and government leaders. They said that they "heard about the need for additional paid internship opportunities and better matchmaking between students and employers to help those just entering the workforce get a feel for careers they may not have thought about before."
In recent years, courts have ruled against some businesses for violating wage rules with unpaid internships, but so far the rulings have not been applied in government settings. In 2013, an organization called The Fair Pay Campaign attracted some attention to the issue of unpaid White House internships, as USA Today reported, but the practice continues.
Oct 13, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 05 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Politico recently hired Timothy Noah to be the publication’s labor and employment editor. Noah is a former Slate and New Republic columnist known for being liberal. Of course, most reporters on the labor beat are pro-union, so you’re probably wondering what the news is here. Well, that would be Noah’s hiring, in turn, of Mike Elk, formerly of Huffington Post and In These Times, to help him cover the beat.
10:22 AM, Jul 10, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Initial claims came in at 304,000, slightly less than expected (315,000) and low enough to keep the low flame of optimism burning after last weeks good jobs number.
12:00 AM, Jun 14, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Until Eve’s encounter with the serpent, Adam did not spend a lot of time looking for work. Didn’t have to. Expelled from Eden and cursed with the necessity of earning his bread “in the sweat of his face,” he found work. Had to. Therein lies a partial, but only partial, explanation for one of the strange developments in America’s labor markets.
8:32 AM, May 2, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The latest jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 288,000, and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains were widespread, led by job growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction.
Household Survey Data
12:00 AM, Dec 14, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Free traders are ecstatic. Negotiators at the 9th World Trade Organization ministerial conference in Bali cheered, hugged, and wept at what they see as the successful culmination of their recent round of talks. “A giant step for businesses large and small,” enthused the CEO of UPS.
Protesters stay home.12:54 PM, Dec 4, 2013 • By JIM SWIFT
At the corner of First and H Streets in Northwest Washington, the balloons were all set, hanging stories high in the cold morning air. The inflatable Pepsi and Mountain Dew bottles were twisting in the breeze, and a mini-hoop game was set up. There was even a marching band and Chester the Cheetos Cheetah.
Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Mike Lee, the senator from Utah, gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation last week that demands attention. The takeaway: Candidates need policy ideas that address the concerns of ordinary voters—and they have to campaign, and win, on those ideas. Lee noted that conservative scholars have a number of imaginative proposals that try to address the breakdown of the family, the rising cost of health insurance and higher education, the lengthening suburban commute, and out-of-control entitlement spending.
1:12 PM, Sep 12, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It has been clear for some time now that big labor is no fan of Obamacare. Now the AFL-CIO has passed a resolution making it official. As Sam Hananel reports for the Associated Press:
8:01 AM, Sep 6, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
When the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the numbers, this morning, on August unemployment, the economics, finance, and political priesthoods will commence digging into the entrails to divine Truth.
10:26 AM, Sep 2, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The celebration of work and the working man and woman feels a little forced this year. Union have, as Kevin Bogardus of The Hill reports:
8:40 AM, Aug 22, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Nevada AFL-CIO has released a resolution condemning Obamacare and demanding that the president and lawmakers change the law.
"[F]or two years we have sought from the Administration and Congress interpretations to the ACA that merely allows us keep the health plans we currently have: nothing more, nothing less. No special treatment. To date, the Administration has postured on proposals to address the problem, but no proposal to date will actually solve the problem. Our health plans only get worse," the resolution in part reads.
3:50 PM, Jul 15, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The Labor Department announced Monday the awarding of $64 million in grants to help unemployment insurance recipients find work more quickly. The funds will be divided up between thirty-eight states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia. Acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris announced the awards: