Black workers have been hit so hard during the coronavirus pandemic, and a full accounting of the hits is not yet complete. We know that Black people have been disproportionately likely to get sick, to be hospitalized, and to die from COVID-19. That theyâ€™veÂ been more likely to face job lossÂ during the pandemic (when they arenâ€™t being exposed to the virus at essential but underpaid jobs). That theyâ€™ve beenÂ less likely to get unemployment benefits.Â A recent report from One Fair Wage adds another angle to this litany of racist impacts:Â racist tipping practices.
Black tipped workers already earned less than white ones before the pandemic. It got worse.
â€śSince the pandemic, Black tipped workers were far more likely to report their tips had decreased by half or greater compared to workers overall (88% v 78%)â€”confirming that the racial bias that existed in tipping prior to the pandemic was exacerbated during the pandemic,â€ť One Fair Wage reports. â€śBlack workers were also far more likely to report their tips had decreased due to enforcing COVID-19 safety measures than workers in generalâ€”in other words, Black workers were penalized far more than other workers for trying to enforce social distancing and mask rules (73% v 62%)â€”making it more challenging for them to enforce these rules and thus further exposing themselves and the public to the virus.â€ť
The answer is obvious: Tipped workers should be paid the full minimum wage (which should itself be raised) so that theyâ€™re not so dependent on individual customers.
? Union members from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will be picketing the Super Bowl to protest Frontier Communicationsâ€”which has a corporate partnership with the Tampa Bay Buccaneersâ€”proposing to cut health care and retirement benefits in ongoing contract negotiations.
? Ohio auto parts workers went on strike to unionize, and when that didnâ€™t succeed, petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for recognition.
? How the PRO Act would restore workers’ freedom to join a union.
? In the shadow of COVID-19, ACLU joins nonprofit unionization surge.
? Former AFL-CIO President John Sweeney is dead at 86. Sweeney was a major figure in moving the labor federation to a more activist and inclusive stance.
? Enormous VA union contract moves toward uncertain conclusion under Biden administration:
In early January, members voted to reject a proposed contract that they say was insufficient and one-sided. After that, a 30-day mediation period began. That mediation period expires this week. Because of some delays on the VAâ€™s side in appointing a negotiator, the union is hoping for an extension, though it is unclear what a final timetable will be. What is certain is that after a process that has been marked by lawsuits, intransigence, political battles, and charges of bad faith, there are still significant outstanding issues to be settled.
â€śWeâ€™ve alleged from the beginning that the VAâ€™s never really come to the table with a sincere desire to reach agreement. Thereâ€™s been a lot of bad faith behavior,â€ť says Thomas Dargon, AFGEâ€™s acting supervisory attorney working on the National Veterans Affairs Council (NVAC). ?â€śWhat weâ€™ve been asking for all along is for them to come to the table seriously.â€ť
This blog originally appeared at Daily Kos on February 6, 2021. Reprinted with permission.
About the Author: Laura ClawsonÂ has been a contributing editor since December 2006. Clawson has been full-time staff since 2011, and is currently assistant managing editor at the Daily Kos.