Today’s National Labor News

WAGE AND HOUR POLITICAL APPOINTEE: Management-side attorney Keith Sonderling has joined the Labor Department as the Wage and Hour division’s first political appointee, a department spokeswoman tells Morning Shift. Sonderling will serve as a senior policy adviser for Wage and Hour, which enforces federal labor laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. He was previously at Gunster, an employment law firm based in Boca Raton, Fla. According to Sonderling’s biography on the firm’s website, he defended employers in legal disputes and helped investors in the EB-5 visa program pursue civil claims. The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to obtain green cards if they invest at least $500,000 in a commercial project that will create jobs, but has been criticized by both Republicans and Democrats as vulnerable to fraud. More here.

IBEW: The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3, which represents the striking employees, walked away from the bargaining table in June, a Charter spokesperson told the Daily News. Retirement is a key sticking point: “The company is trying to scrap workers’ pensions in favor of 401(k) accounts with matching contribution and stop contributing to a union health fund, according to the union,” the Daily News reports. “But Charter says it has offered wage hikes averaging 22 percent, with some workers in line for wages as high as 55 percent, in addition to a 401(k) where the company would match contributions up to 6 percent of pay.” More here.

IMMIGRANTS FUEL MIDWEST GROWTH: “The Rust Belt states that tipped the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump could be among the biggest losers from the proposed reductions in legal immigration that he has endorsed, according to a new study released Monday,” Ronald Brownstein writes in the Atlantic. “The study, from the nonpartisan Chicago Council on Global Affairs, concludes that immigration has been ‘a demographic lifeline’ that has helped several Midwestern cities partially reverse decades of population loss among native-born residents.” The report looks at how immigration fueled population growth in the Midwest over the last century – and what might happen if legal immigration is cut in half, as the Trump administration has proposed. Read more from the Atlantic here and the study here.

TESLA WORKER SUIT EXPANDS: “Widening earlier claims of immigration fraud at the Tesla factory, a recently unsealed whistleblower suit says several other major automakers, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen, illegally used foreign construction workers to build their U.S. factories,” Louis Hansen reports in the Mercury News. “The charges expand on an investigation by [the Mercury News] last year into foreign construction workers building Tesla’s paint shop in Fremont. The federal suit charges that the carmakers used hundreds of Eastern European workers on suspect visas hired through subcontractors for the German company Eisenmann. … Tesla and Mercedes denied the claims. An Eisenmann spokesman said the company complies with U.S. immigration laws.” More here.

From Politico’s Morning Shift

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