Must Read Money Stories for Wednesday, March 30

by March 30, 2016


Union victory. Organized labor survived a major threat in nearly half the country on Tuesday after the Supreme Court deadlocked on a lawsuit over whether government workers should be allowed to opt out of mandatory fees paid to public sector unions. Jess Bravin of Dow Jones Newswires wrote that the split leaves the issue unresolved nationally. The deadlocked vote leaves in place a lower court ruling that favors unions in a case brought by the Christian Educators Association International and nine California teachers. The vote would likely have had a different outcome had Justice Antonin Scalia not died last month. He had hinted he would have voted to overrule the 1977 precedent allowing public employee unions to collect mandatory dues from represented workers if authorized by state law.

NAFTA: boon or menace? Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has tapped into deep-seated anger about American manufacturing jobs lost to overseas competition — frequently threatening to “break” the North American Free Trade Agreement, reported Eduardo Porter of The New York Times. Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders also is anti-trade, frequently blaming NAFTA and other trade agreements for the suffering of working-class Americans. Both candidates scored big wins in the Michigan primaries by tapping into the animosity of disgruntled autoworkers. But they may be misguided, Porter reported. There are still nearly a million auto sector jobs in America, and some economists would argue that without NAFTA, there might not be much left of the American auto industry at all. Economists on both sides of the aisle are sounding the alarm that imposing high tariffs against Mexico and other countries would probably do more harm than good.

Fed holds steady. The Federal Reserve will move forward very slowly as it looks to hike interest rates, the U.S. central bank’s chair, Janet Yellen, said on Tuesday. Reuters journalist Jonathan Spicer reported that Yellen said inflation has not yet proven sustainable against potential threats to the American economy, including low oil prices and a lagging Chinese economy.

Egyptian tourism blow. A passenger claiming he was armed with explosives hijacked an EgyptAir plane carrying 71 passengers and forced it to land in Cyprus, Bloomberg’s Nour Al Ali, Tarek El-Tablawy and Paul Tugwell reported. None of the people aboard were harmed during the harrowing seven-hour hijacking, Cypriot authorities told Bloomberg. The ordeal has threatened Egypt’s struggling tourism industry as it tries to rebuild five months after a Russian passenger plane crashed in the Sinai peninsula in a suspected bombing by Islamic State.

SU-GBF EgyptAir Airbus A320-231@Frankfurt-Rhein-Main-International (FRA/EDDF)/17.07.2006 SU-GBF” by flickr user “Oliver Holzbauer” Creative Commons license CC by 2.0.