Updated Mar 2, 2018

Health care cuts drive West Virginia teachers' strike

The State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia. Photo: Michael S. Williamson / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Public school teachers across West Virginia have been on strike for a week.

Why it matters: Kids have been out of school as teachers fight for raises to their stagnant salaries. But the state's teachers have been just as anxious over major proposed cuts to their health care benefits — a trend that spans companies and industries.

Driving the news: Republican Gov. Jim Justice had agreed to give teachers a 5% salary raise, but rising copays, higher premiums and other health benefits changes were still up in the air. Local newspapers now report state legislators are considering putting the pay raise toward the public employee health insurance fund.

The big picture: Wages and health benefits are linked — as the cost of health care has climbed, increases in compensation often have gone toward those benefits instead of pay raises.

Key quote: "In West Virginia, we know they weren't known for having high salaries, but they were known for good health insurance," a high school history teacher told HuffPost. "That used to be something to attract people. Now that's eroding."

Go deeper: The erosion of worker compensation.

Go deeper

Inside hackers' pivot to medical espionage

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A wave of cyber-spying around COVID-19 medical research is once more demonstrating the perils of treating cybersecurity as a separate, walled-off realm.

Driving the news: U.S. officials recently announced an uptick in Chinese-government affiliated hackers targeting medical research and other facilities in the United States for data on a potential COVID-19 cure or effective treatments to combat the virus. Additionally, “more than a dozen countries have redeployed military and intelligence hackers to glean whatever they can about other nations’ virus responses,” reports the New York Times.

The downsides of remote work

Data: Reproduced from Prudential/Morning Consult "Pulse of the American Worker Survey"; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has forced a large-scale experiment in working from home. It has gone well enough that many companies are expanding their remote work expectations for the foreseeable future, and remote employees want to continue to work that way.

Yes, but: The downsides of remote work — less casual interaction with colleagues, an over-reliance on Zoom, lack of in-person collaboration and longer hours — could over time diminish the short-term gains.

Hong Kong's economic future hangs in the balance

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Beijing forces a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous city's status as one of Asia's largest financial hubs is at risk.

Why it matters: Political freedoms and strong rule of law helped make Hong Kong a thriving center for international banking and finance. But China's leaders may be betting that top firms in Hong Kong will trade some political freedoms for the economic prosperity Beijing can offer.