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In the News

Articles on workplace-related issues from newspapers and Internet news sources around the country.

January 16, 2019

Women could boost the global economy, but outdated laws are holding them back

Source: Jamille Bigio and Rachel Vogelstein , CNN Business

According to the new Women's Workplace Equality Index from the Council on Foreign Relations, legal inequality persists for women worldwide: Over 100 countries restrict the kinds of jobs women can have, 75 countries limit women's property rights, and 18 countries require women to have their husband's permission to work outside the home.

The Supreme Court Just Handed a Big, Unanimous Victory to Workers. Wait, What?

Source: Mark Joseph Stern , Slate

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed a victory to American workers, ruling unanimously that independent contractors who work in transportation may not be forced into mandatory arbitration. (Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the bench after argument, did not participate.)

Spied On at Work? Things to Know About Employee Monitoring

Source: Leslie Stevens-Huffman, Dice

Although more than a quarter of tech employees at big firms say that their companies go to unreasonable lengths to spy on them, our laws haven’t caught up with the latest forms of monitoring, according to Paula Brantner, senior advisor to Workplace Fairness: “Basically, anything that relates to security, theft or efficiency is fair game.”

“Consult with an attorney if necessary to find out what protections are available, especially when it comes to new forms of monitoring,” Brantner advised. She also provided this helpful overview of employees’ rights regarding workplace monitoring.

January 15, 2019

Senators are getting paid during the government shutdown. Many low-wage contractors aren’t.

Source: Li Zhou , Vox

The partial government shutdown is expected to hit one group of workers particularly hard ... and it’s not members of Congress. While roughly 800,000 government employees have already begun missing paychecks because of the shutdown and likely won’t see back pay until after it’s resolved, another subset of workers isn’t going to be paid at all.

Tech Workers Unite to Fight Forced Arbitration

Source: Nitasha Tiku, Wired

Tech workers may be new to labor organizing, but they’re learning quickly. When a November walkout by 20,000 Google employees protesting the company’s mishandling of sexual harassment claims led to small changes that fell short of the organizers’ demands, some activists inside Google decided to broaden the fight.

January 14, 2019

Workers at chains like Starbucks and McDonald's face violence and injuries on the job — and they're starting to speak out

Source: Kate Taylor , SF Gate

In the fast-food industry, a chain lives or dies based on the waiters, baristas, and cashiers it hires. These workers often encounter routine risks, violence, and injuries while on the job.

Lack of paid family leave, support at work partly to blame for 30-year low in fertility rates

Source: Kaelyn Forde , ABC News

The financial and emotional obstacles mothers face were brought to the fore this week after a new report found that American women aren't having enough babies to replace the current population, and the nation's total fertility rate has hit a 30-year low.

January 11, 2019

Federal Contractors Have Never Gotten Back Pay for Shutdowns. Democrats Are Trying to Fix That.

Source: Tonya Riley , Mother Jones

In what is shaping up to potentially be the longest shutdown in US history, federal contract workers are at risk of losing almost a month’s worth of income. The severity of the shutdown has pushed the Senate to do something it has never attempted before: get back pay for federal contractors.

Many Female Health Care Workers Make Poverty-Level Wages: Study

Source: Serena Gordon , U.S. News & World Report

Every day they help feed, bathe and care for the frailest Americans. But female health care workers in the United States often get shortchanged on wages and health insurance, a new study finds. In fact, about one-third of female health care workers made less than $15 an hour, and that number rose to half when these workers were black or Hispanic.

January 10, 2019

New York City mayor to propose law giving all workers 2 weeks of paid time off

Source: Aaron Katersky , ABC News

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to announce legislation today guaranteeing two weeks of paid time off for all workers, one day after he announced a plan to provide health care for all city residents.

Feeling poorer? That's because "real" wages fell last year

Source: Aimee Picchi , CBS News

The pay people take home after accounting for inflation fell 1.3 percent last year, a new analysis shows. The findings come a year after President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, with his administration promising it would deliver "immediate" wage growth to workers.

January 9, 2019

Unpaid federal workers owe more than $400 million in mortgage and rent payments this month

Source: Jacob Passy , MarketWatch

For many federal workers, keeping a roof over their heads got a lot harder in January thanks to the partial government shutdown that is approaching its third week.

Sears workers demand hardship fund as company teeters on edge of closing

Source: Reuters , Reuters

As Sears Holdings Corp teeters on the brink of liquidation, its employees are pushing for a hardship fund they hope can replicate the success of bankrupt retailer Toys 'R' Us, whose workers collected $20 million in severance pay from its former owners.

January 8, 2019

The Shutdown Has Turned Uncle Sam Into a Deadbeat Boss

Source: Michelle Chen , The Nation

But hundreds of thousands of public servants are really getting absolutely nothing from Uncle Sam in return for another day of work. As the gridlock in Washington paralyzes the federal bureaucracy, some agencies remains on auto-pilot, thanks to a stripped-down skeleton staff of drafted workers.

Labor Department Leadership Vacancies Could Threaten Policy Work

Source: Jaclyn Diaz , Bloomberg BNA

The Labor Department is starting 2019 without confirmed officials in several key leadership posts, vacancies the business community fears could derail some policy initiatives.

January 7, 2019

Why you should ask for someone’s pronouns instead of just assuming

Source: Meera Jagannathan, MarketWatch

And documents provided as early as the hiring process and onboarding can be written to include a place to identify your pronouns, allow workers to specify non-gendered partners and provide an equal-opportunity statement that includes gender identity, Brantner said.

A California Dream for Paid Leave Has an Old Problem: How to Pay for It

Source: Claire Cain Miller and Jim Tankersley, The New York Times

The United States has long been the only industrialized country not to offer paid leave to new parents. Instead of waiting for the federal government, the incoming governor of California intends to change that in a significant way for families in his state.

Workers just notched a rare win in federal court

Source: Rachel M. Cohen, The Intercept

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C Circuit determined that a business could be considered a so-called joint-employer if it exercised a certain level of “indirect control” over employees’ working conditions, or if it reserved the authority to do so down the line.

January 4, 2019

Sanders apologizes to women who said they were harassed during his 2016 campaign

Source: POLITICO Staff, POLITICO

POLITICO revealed that more than two dozen women and men who worked on Sanders’ 2016 campaign sent a letter last Sunday to senior Sanders officials asking for a meeting to “discuss the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, for the purpose of planning to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle.”

As Trump Holds Firm on Shutdown, He Never Mentions One Group: Federal Workers

Source: Annie Karni, The New York Times

The one thing President Trump has not talked about publicly during 13 days of the partial government shutdown is the 800,000 federal workers who are not being paid because of it.

January 3, 2019

Searching for images of CEOs or managers? The results almost always show men.

Source: Andrew Van Dam, The Washington Post

In 57 percent of occupations, image searches indicate the jobs are more male-dominated than they actually are.

‘A Pumping Conspiracy’: Why Workers Smuggled Breast Pumps Into Prison

Source: Natalie Kitroeff, The New York Times

That situation, where producing breast milk at work is unfeasible, is common among American employers — even though failing to provide hourly workers with break time and a private place to pump is often a violation of federal law. There are health consequences for potentially millions of families.

January 2, 2019

Big Tech May Look Troubled, but It’s Just Getting Started

Source: David Streitfeld, The New York Times

Amazon’s head count tripled over the last three years, thanks to its warehouses and the acquisition of Whole Foods. It is only the second company in the United States to employ more than 500,000 people — and that is not counting its contractors.

Living paycheck to paycheck is disturbingly common: ‘I see no way out.’

Source: Danielle Paquette, The Washington Post

National data on the paycheck-to-paycheck experience is flimsy, but a recent report from the Federal Reserve spotlights the prevalence of extra-tight budgets: Four in 10 adults say they couldn’t produce $400 in an emergency without sliding into debt or selling something, according to the 2017 figures.

January 1, 2019

NY workplaces adjust to #MeToo legislation

Source: Leigh Hornbeck, The Times Union

In October of 2018, a New York state law went into effect requiring all employers to have a sexual harassment policy that meets minimum requirements, making it the first state to do so.

Five workplace predictions for 2019

Source: Jena McGregor, The Washington Post

Some predictions about life at work in 2019 are hard to know: whether the economy will slow down, and if so, when. Others seem like sure bets: The #MeToo movement will continue, with more women coming forward with tales of misconduct on the job, while issues such as diversity, flexibility and gender equity will remain at the fore.

December 31, 2018

Voices behind Time's Up

Source: Chloe Melas, CNN

It's been one year since more than 1,000 women in entertainment joined forces to combat workplace sexual misconduct across industries with the formation of Time's Up. Amber Tamblyn, Emma Watson, Shonda Rhimes, Tracee Ellis Ross, Eva Longoria and the founders of the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund spoke to CNN about what’s changed in the past year and what’s to come

Chief justice details efforts to combat workplace misconduct

Source: Associated Press, AP

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is using his annual report on the federal judiciary to highlight the steps the branch has taken to combat inappropriate conduct in the workplace.

December 28, 2018

Some 17 million workers will get a raise in 2019

Source: Annie Nova, CNBC

More than 20 states will raise their minimum wage in 2019, and some 17 million workers could benefit, according to a new report by the National Employment Law Project.

Financially Struggling Government Workers Are Caught Up In Shutdown

Source: Tom Gjelten, NPR

The 800,000 federal workers who aren't being paid because of the partial government shutdown include many who struggle to make ends meet even during ordinary times.

December 27, 2018

Employment impact of Camp Fire hard to trace

Source: Laura Urseny, Chico Enterprise-Record

It could be several months before specific information on job losses related to the Camp Fire show up, if at all.

Workers Describe How They’re Trying to Survive the Trump Shutdown

Source: Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones

At a Christmas Day press conference, President Donald Trump told reporters that federal workers had signaled to him that they were happy to be furloughed or working without pay.

December 19, 2018

The GOP tax bill only gave workers 2 cents more per hour in bonuses

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Next week marks the one-year anniversary of the Republican tax bill. On December 22, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, shrinking the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent and cutting taxes on private businesses by about 20 percent.

Sprint, T-Mobile Merger Would Mean Lower Wages Across Wireless Retail, Study Finds

Source: Emily Gillespie , Fortune

When the Sprint and T-Mobile revealed their decision to merge earlier this spring, the announcement came with a promise that the new company would “employ more people than both companies separately.” But a study released Monday shows that it could come with lower wages for retail workers in the entire industry, even affecting those who don’t work at the two companies.

December 18, 2018

Politicians have caused a pay ‘collapse’ for the bottom 90 percent of workers, researchers say

Source: Christopher Ingraham , Washington Post

Political decisions by elected officials are largely responsible for a “collapse in pay for the bottom 90 percent” of the labor market since 1979, according to a new analysis of wage stagnation by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

Best Buy starts offering backup child care to workers for a co-pay

Source: Catherine Roberts , Minneapolis Star Tribune

It also has added four weeks of paid caregiver leave and said it will offer enhanced mental health benefits and paid time off to part-time workers. The paid caregiver leave is 100 percent pay for four weeks to care for children, parents, spouses or domestic partners. Of the 100 companies on Working Mother magazine’s list of best places to work, 91 offered backup child care as a benefit.

December 17, 2018

Ending the Silence

Source: Sharon Johnson, The Progressive

Brantner estimates that more than one-third of the U.S. labor force is bound by some form of non-disclosure agreement. Traditionally, employers have used these to protect trade secrets and intellectual property that might give rival firms a competitive edge. But in recent years, an increasing number of employers have used non-disclosure agreements to prevent victims of sexual harassment from speaking out.

Michigan Unions Dodge Republican Attack In Lame-Duck Session

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

A plan by Michigan Republicans to weaken public-sector unions in the state fell apart in the legislature’s lame-duck session Thursday. GOP leaders had hoped to pass a law that would force unions representing government workers to hold and pay for “recertification” elections every other year. Such elections would give workers the chance to expel their union, or recertify them as their representative.

Muslim Amazon workers say they don’t have enough time to pray. Now they’re fighting for their rights.

Source: Chavie Lieber , Vox

Minneapolis is a haven for East African immigrants like Ibrahin, who flock to the area because of the ample job opportunities, and because the state of Minnesota has a robust infrastructure to accommodate refugees and immigrants. The East African immigrants in Minneapolis are both refugees and non-refugees, and they come from countries like Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya.

December 14, 2018

McDonald’s Workers Criticize ‘Joint Employer’ Rule Proposal

Source: Hassan A. Kanu and Robert Iafolla , Bloomberg Law

Thousands of low-wage workers told the federal labor board to scrap its proposal for a “joint employer” rule, saying it would make it easier for companies to dodge legal liability for violating worker rights. More than 3,000 workers and allies submitted comments to the National Labor Relations Board Dec. 11, generally criticizing the proposed rule for when more than one company can be liable for labor law violations.

More Tesla Workers Want to Unionize, Despite Elon Musk’s Promises of Free Frozen Yogurt

Source: Sarah Jones , New York Magazine

When workers at his Fremont, California, car plant announced their intention to organize with the United Auto Workers in 2017, BuzzFeed News reported that Musk accused one worker of being a “union plant” in an email to staff, and promised to build “a Tesla electric pod car roller coaster” and free frozen-yogurt machines. This did not dissuade Tesla workers from organizing, in Fremont or elsewhere.

December 13, 2018

The most important job in the world is one no one wants anymore

Source: Sarita Gupta , Quartz

This presents a remarkable and untapped opportunity. By refocusing our resources on turning these jobs into better jobs—both benefitting caregivers and those they care for—we will reshape our economy while lowering health-care costs.

New York already has thousands of Amazon workers — and some are unionizing to demand better conditions

Source: Gaby Del Valle , Vox

But on Tuesday night, those very workers announced their plans to form a union. Citing inadequate pay, 12-hour shifts, and impossible performance quotas, the workers are using the company’s plans to expand in New York — and the $3 billion in tax breaks that it’s receiving from the city and state governments — as leverage.

December 12, 2018

How to respond to a joke about #MeToo

Source: Meera Jagannathan, MarketWatch

I think we expected some backlash,” employment attorney Paula Brantner, a senior adviser to the nonprofit Workplace Fairness, told Moneyish. “And I think this is what people do when something is happening that they don’t feel completely comfortable (with), or maybe they feel vulnerable or worried that they, too, have engaged in harassment -- or that they might need to give up some of their power.

'Blatant scare tactics': Iowa university leads crackdown on student unions

Source: Lauren Aratani , The Guardian

A liberal arts college in Iowa is taking a hardline anti-union approach that could put student unions at private American colleges and universities in jeopardy across the whole country. Grinnell College filed an appeal last week to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after the regional office in Minneapolis denied its request to stop a student union vote on 27 November.

Kaiser Permanente mental health workers begin strike: 'Our patients are suffering'

Source: Kristin Lam , USA Today

Mental health clinicians began a week-long strike for more resources with an energetic showing Monday, with hundreds of Kaiser Permanente workers picketing in two of California's largest cities.

December 11, 2018

NLRB’s Handling of Joint Employer Petitions: Fodder for Lawsuits

Source: Robert Iafolla , Bloomberg Law

The National Labor Relations Board’s alleged failure to disclose communications it had with business groups about changing its legal standard for joint liability under federal labor law could bolster legal challenges to an eventual final rule, according to administrative law scholars.

Republicans To Hold Their First Hearing On The Minimum Wage Since Taking The House In 2010

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

At long last, House Republicans have something to say about the minimum wage. Mere weeks before a Democratic takeover of the House, the GOP majority has finally scheduled a hearing to debate the idea of hiking the federal wage floor from $7.25 per hour.

December 10, 2018

New jobs report shows that the economy is steady but wages are lagging

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Employers added 155,000 jobs to the US economy in November — far fewer than the 198,000 new positions economists had expected, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent. Both figures are a sign that the US economy is strong and continues to expand, even with weaker job growth.

Despite #MeToo, most women don’t see a change in the workplace

Source: Alexandra Villarreal , Ladders

A disruption rumbled through American popular culture over the last year as the #MeToo movement proved how widespread sexual misconduct is in the workplace and beyond. But despite heightened awareness about gender-based abuse and harassment, it seems that little discernible change for women has taken root at office buildings across the country.

December 7, 2018

Michigan Republicans Rush To Weaken Unions In Lame-Duck Session

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

Republican legislators in Michigan are moving swiftly to weaken public-sector unions before a Democrat takes over the governor’s mansion next year — part of a series of brazen legislative maneuvers this week undermining Democratic victories in last month’s elections. Unions say that the two bills are part of a lame-duck power grab aimed at reducing their membership and political clout while GOP leaders have the chance.

The Next Big Legal Case to Assassinate Unions Is On The Way

Source: Hamilton Nolan , Splinter News

This summer, the Supreme Court gutted America’s public labor unions with the Janus ruling. Now, another case has the potential to further destroy the very basis of organized labor in America. This is serious.

December 6, 2018

New study shows 1 in 6 U.S. health care workers are immigrants

Source: Laura Santhanam , PBS News Hour

According to a new research letter published Tuesday in Journal of the American Medical Association, about one out of six medical professionals are foreign-born. And like Chatterjee, they often fill health care jobs in rural or underserved communities, places that have a harder time attracting U.S.-born medical school graduates.

Google contract workers demand better pay and benefits

Source: Megan Rose Dickey , Tech Crunch

Google contract workers, internally referred to as Temporary, Vendor and Contractors (TVCs, are seeking better, equal treatment. That entails better pay and access to benefits, as well as better access to company-wide information. In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, they allege Google “routinely denies TVCs access to information that is relevant to our jobs and our lives.”

December 5, 2018

Lawmakers Call for House to Investigate XPO After Workers’ Miscarriages

Source: Natalie Kitroeff , The New York Times

Ninety-seven members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday called for a congressional investigation into working conditions at XPO Logistics, which operates a Memphis warehouse that several women said was rife with pregnancy discrimination.

Supreme Court Asked if Unions Can Represent Nonmembers

Source: Jon Steingart , Bloomberg Law

A conservative advocacy group wants the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower court rulings that have upheld public sector unions’ authority to act on behalf of nonmembers.

December 4, 2018

Lawmakers Demand Investigation Of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta For Sex Abuser Plea Deal

Source: Lydia O’Connor , Huffington Post

More than a dozen lawmakers are demanding that the Office of the Inspector General investigate how Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta helped broker a plea deal in 2007 for a millionaire accused of abusing dozens of young girls.

GM’s Plant Closures Might Have Broken Its Union Deal

Source: Raphael Orlove , Jalopnik

GM has been saying that it wanted to close its plants while the going was good, but why now, and why so abrupt with it? Hm. Oh right, union negotiations are coming right up. GM and the UAW ratified a four-year contract in 2015, and the negotiations have been anticipated for quite some time.

December 3, 2018

The surprisingly high number of Americans getting absolutely no raises

Source: Evan Horowitz , The Washington Post

One of the great puzzles of this economic expansion has been the tepid increase in wages, even as the unemployment rate has declined to 3.7 percent, its lowest point since 1969.

Menial Tasks, Slurs and Swastikas: Many Black Workers at Tesla Say They Faced Racism

Source: Lauren Hepler , The New York Times

Interviews, internal communications and sworn legal statements filed by more than two dozen current or former Tesla employees and contractors describe a wide range of concerns among some African-American workers at the factory in Fremont, including threats by co-workers, demeaning assignments and barriers to advancement.

November 30, 2018

“Inhumane”: a laid-off GM worker in Ohio responds to massive job cuts

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

General Motors caused an uproar this week when it announced plans to close up to five factories in the US and Canada and cut more than 14,000 jobs over the next two years.

The New Federal Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Would Remedy Decades of Injustice

Source: Bryce Covert , The Nation

There are about 2 million domestic workers in the country, a workforce that is only growing larger as baby boomers age and millennials have children.

November 29, 2018

New York labor leaders: Amazon has 'record of routinely mistreating workers'

Source: Erin Durkin , The Guardian

As Amazon looks to come to town, New York labor leaders tore into the company’s record on worker treatment in a new report issued on Wednesday. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) and city lawmakers said Amazon’s record of grueling conditions for warehouse workers and opposition to union organizing should make the tech giant unwelcome in the city.

The Gender Wage Gap Is Worse Than We Thought

Source: Michelle Chen , The Nation

According to a new analysis of historical wage data by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), the oft-cited 20 percent gap, which focuses on short-term earnings, misses the context of women’s lives.

November 28, 2018

California must improve conditions for the workers who help prevent fires

Source: Robert Collier and Carl Wilmsen , Sacramento Bee

California’s latest mega-fire disasters have refocused attention on the state’s challenge of the future: how to manage forests and scrubland so wildfires will be less frequent and catastrophic.

Feds Find Kentucky Fails To Meet Standards For Worker Safety

Source: Eleanor Klibanoff , NPR

Kentucky is what's known as a "state plan," meaning the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has authorized it to run its own worker safety program. Every year, federal OSHA conducts an audit of all 28 state plans to ensure they are "at least as effective" as the federal agency at identifying and preventing workplace hazards.

November 27, 2018

General Motors to lay off 15 percent of workers, shutter 5 plants in North America

Source: Soo Youn , ABC News

The closures were opposed by organized labor. Unifor, Canada's largest union, issued a statement calling on General Motors Canada to keep the plant open past December 2019. “Oshawa Assembly is GM’s most decorated plant with a highly skilled, committed workforce,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Additionally, the USMCA provides the Canadian auto industry with firm footing so walking away after a hundred year history of manufacturing makes no sense.”

The G20 summit is a reminder of how little the US is doing for American workers

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

The United States, which accounts for one-fifth of the world’s economy, is definitely not leading the way on this issue. Labor officials promised to prepare workers for the high-skilled jobs of the future, to improve job opportunities for women, integrate immigrants into the labor force, and crack down on child labor and modern-day slavery.

November 26, 2018

The Robot Will Hear You Now: Easing Job Harassment Reporting

Source: Paige Smith, Bloomberg Law

Worker advocacy groups, like Workplace Fairness, have looked into the capabilities of reporting aids, like Spot, to help whistleblowers, but it is still early in the process, Brantner said.

“They’re important for a start, but I would hate to see them replace talking to someone who can really give you sound advice,” she said. “The question is, do the machines have the sophistication to ferret out conduct that might not be actionable harassment now, but the company would want to know about?”

DOL Again Asks to Delay Lawsuit Over Tips Guidance

Source: Jon Steingart , Bloomberg BNA

The U.S. Labor Department again asked a judge to delay a lawsuit challenging its now-abandoned approach to workers who earn tips. More time is needed “in light of the Thanksgiving holidays and the number of parties involved,” the DOL said in a Nov. 21 request.

Sonoma County's low-income workers left out of local recovery from 2017 wildfires, report says

Source: Bill Swindell , The Santa Rosa Press Democrat

A report backed by the biggest local labor group predicts a bleak future for Sonoma County’s working class unless policy steps are taken to allow low-income families to get a toehold back into the middle class.

November 23, 2018

US retail workers face long hours, poor pay and 'anxiety through the roof' on Black Friday

Source: Michael Sainato , The Guardian

“It’s really stressful. It’s chaos everywhere. Having to keep up with the pace management expects you to work at, dealing with the mess and the customers, my anxiety is through the roof,” said Noemi Castro, a three-year employee at K-Mart in Los Angeles, California, who is working the morning shift on Black Friday this year.

Listen: How Toys R Us workers got the retailer's private equity owners to pay severance

Source: Marielle Segarra , Marketplace

The private equity firms Bain and KKR announced this week that they will contribute $20 million to a compensation fund for former employees of Toys R Us. The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2017, laying off tens of thousands of workers without severance packages.

November 21, 2018

Harassment in Workplace May Seem Obvious, Except When It Isn’t

Source: Chris Opfer and Robert Iafolla , Bloomberg BNA

Six years later, in the midst of the #MeToo movement and political polarization that has spilled over into workplaces, there’s still no clear and consistent definition of where protected labor activity ends and unlawful workplace harassment begins.

The human costs of Black Friday, explained by a former Amazon warehouse manager

Source: Chavie Lieber , Vox

What’s it like working inside these fulfillment centers? During my first few weeks of training, when I was just observing, it was clear to me immediately how hard this job is. The associates have mandated breaks where they have to clock in and out by certain times, but the managers do not get any sort of break or lunch.

November 20, 2018

Can Cities Set Their Own Local Minimum Wage? Florida Supreme Court Set To Hear Arguments

Source: CBS Miami

The Florida Supreme Court will hear arguments March 6 in a closely watched case about whether the city of Miami Beach can have a local minimum wage.

Tech companies like Google are giving workers the right to take sexual harassment claims to court — but employees are calling for more

Source: Shirin Ghaffary and Rani Molla , Recode

Amid increasing public scrutiny, many major tech companies are reconsidering a practice that bars workers from taking their employer to court over workplace issues such as sexual harassment. In the past two weeks alone, Google, Facebook, Airbnb, eBay and Square all announced they’d end forced arbitration for cases of sexual harassment.

November 19, 2018

House Democrats will introduce a bill to protect millions of health care workers

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

A group of House Democrats will introduce a bill on Friday to help protect millions of nurses and other health care workers from the high rates of violence they experience on the job.

More companies are chipping their workers like pets

Source: Violet Blue , Engadget

The trend of blundering into the void of adopting new tech, damn the consequences, full speed ahead, continues this week. The Telegraph tells us about "a number of UK legal and financial firms" are in talks with a chip company to implant their employees with RFID microchips for security purposes. Ah, security purposes, our favorite road to hell paved with some kind of intentions. Is it like when Facebook took people's phone numbers for security purposes and handed them to advertisers?

November 16, 2018

Opinion: End Forced Arbitration for Sexual Harassment. Then Do More.

Source: Terri Gerstein , The New York Times

A quick refresher on why forced arbitration is so unfair to workers: Workers win less often in arbitration than in court, and when they do win, they get less money than they would in court. Arbitration is secret and shields wrongdoing from public view.

How temp workers became the norm in America

Source: Scott Tong , Marketplace

To many labor economists, companies' reliance on contract workers extends far beyond the factory sector and has become a long-term trend. They detected a structural change in employment and corporate strategy that began decades ago, but was amplified by the Great Recession and the recovery that followed.

November 15, 2018

'Right-to-work' gets a first hearing at the Ohio Statehouse, but that's probably it

Source: Jackie Borchardt , Cincinnati Enquirer

So-called “right-to-work” legislation isn’t on the agendas for outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich or incoming governor Mike DeWine. But if that changes, unions will be ready to fight back.

Sanders wants to penalize Walmart’s owners unless they pay their workers $15 an hour

Source: Jeff Stein , The Washington Post

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will unveil legislation on Thursday to force Walmart to raise its workers’ wages to at least $15 an hour, the latest move in the senator’s campaign to target large U.S. corporations over low pay.

November 14, 2018

House Democrats plan to push for $15 federal minimum wage

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

House Democrats are busy filling up their 2019 calendar. When it comes to labor policy, House Democrats say the top priority is to raise wages and create more jobs.

Caring for Your Company’s Caregivers

Source: Sarita Gupta and Ai-Jen Poo , Harvard Business Review

Until now, the burdens of this new world have fallen on workers, not their employers. Fully 68% of working family caregivers report making adjustments at work such as arriving late or leaving early, taking time off, changing jobs, turning down a promotion, or cutting back on hours.

November 13, 2018

If an app is your boss, what, exactly, are you?

Source: Alex Rosenblat , Fast Company

Because Uber drivers are classi?ed as independent contractors, not as employees, they do not bene?t from most workplace discrimination protections. In this way, the rating system provides one of the clearest signals that Uber has taken on the role of managing drivers as workers.

Editorial: Too Many Workers Are Trapped By Non-Competes

Source: Bloomberg

Why have wages been so slow to rise at a time when demand for workers has pushed the U.S. unemployment rate to its lowest point in nearly half a century? One answer: Contracts that tie millions of unspecialized workers to their jobs. In far too many cases, these so-called noncompetes are an unwarranted restriction on freedom to transact and a drag on growth.

November 12, 2018

How employers are trying to drive Election Day turnout

Source: Jena McGregor, The Washington Post

There are no federal laws requiring employers to give workers time off to vote. State regulations vary, from having no laws on the subject to mandating paid time off for several hours, according to the nonprofit Workplace Fairness. Many do not have consequences, however, for noncompliance, and even those states that do specify offering paid time off may require it only if employees don’t have enough time to vote before or after work.

Benefits and bonuses aren't making up for slow wage growth

Source: Annie Nova , CNBC

Airbnb And eBay Just Said They Would End Forced Arbitration For Sexual Harassment Claims

Source: Davey Alba and Caroline O’Donovan , Buzzfeed News

BuzzFeed News reached out to a bevy of technology companies, asking if they would consider following Facebook and Google’s decisions to end forced arbitration. The question was simple: “Will your company, in all cases, end your policy of requiring employee sexual-harassment claims to be settled in private arbitration?”

November 9, 2018

Google pledges to overhaul its sexual harassment policy after global protests

Source: Sam Levin , The Guardian

Google CEO’s, Sundar Pichai, said the company would overhaul its sexual harassment policies, meeting some of the demands of employees who organized historic walkouts across the globe. In an email to staff on Thursday, Pichai said Google would end forced arbitration for sexual misconduct claims, revamp its investigations process, share data on harassment claims and outcomes, and provide new support systems for people who come forward.

What a Democrat-controlled House means for labor laws and minimum wage

Source: Kari Paul , MarketWatch

The results of the midterm elections will likely bring more attention to key labor issues that would benefit workers, experts say, but passing legislation in a divided Congress will be difficult. After Democrats won a majority in the House, workers can expect a number of laws on the agenda meant to benefit them, labor relations attorney James Paretti, a partner at Washington, D.C. firm Littler Mendelson, wrote in a post-election analysis.

November 8, 2018

The Gig Economy Is Growing -- But Where Is It Headed?

Source: Scott Absher , San Francisco Chronicle

Despite its obvious growth, this new employment model has been heavily criticized due to its lack of protections for gig workers. Certainly there has been a move toward expanded protectionsfor gig workers: The California Supreme Court Ruling made it more difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Editorial: Tech Workers Flex Their Leverage in Collective Action

Source: The Valley News

Tech workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your golden chains. And probably not even those. Yes, labor militancy has emerged in a surprising new arena in recent months — the tech sector, where pay is high, schedules flexible and benefits rich.

November 7, 2018

Voters just gave nearly 1 million workers a raise in 2 red states

Source: Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox

Voters in two red states — Missouri and Arkansas — overwhelmingly approved ballot measures that will raise the minimum wage for nearly 1 million workers across both states.

Trump’s tax cuts will help the Walton family more than Walmart workers

Source: Kari Paul , MarketWatch

As some Walmart workers struggle to get by, the company’s owners are thriving. The Walton family, majority stakeholders of supermarket giant Walmart benefitted from an estimated $6.5 billion in tax breaks on share holdings over the last 16 years, according to an analysis from the union-backed group Making Change at Walmart.

November 6, 2018

The Seattle Minimum Wage Study Marches On

Source: Kevin Drum , Mother Jones

Low-income workers in Seattle, on average, earned about $17 more per week than they would have if the minimum wage law hadn’t changed. The researchers also come to a few other conclusions: All the gains accrued to experienced workers. Inexperienced workers earned the same weekly wages as before.

Senior Citizens Are Replacing Teenagers as Fast-Food Workers

Source: Leslie Patton , Bloomberg

Restaurants are recruiting in senior centers and churches. They’re placing want ads on the website of AARP, an advocacy group for Americans over 50. Recruiters say older workers have soft skills—a friendly demeanor, punctuality—that their younger cohorts sometimes lack.

November 5, 2018

Workplace Surveillance:Will New Techniques Spark Resentment

Source: Lorna Collier, Sage Business Researcher

Paula Brantner, a senior adviser to Workplace Fairness, an employee-rights advocacy group in Silver Spring, Md., says that unions have been able to “create some boundaries and limitations for the employer.” Employers with unionized workforces can still monitor their workers, but it must be done with employees’ consent and knowledge, she says.

Gig Economy Workers Often Don’t Realize How Much it Costs Them

Source: Eric Newcomer , Bloomberg

Here's an undeniable truth: The gig economy is built on the backs of workers who don't think about their costs. Uber drivers, for example, bring their own cars to work and pay their own expenses, but only some of them calculate their gasoline expenses and subtract that from their income.

Does the U.S. Still Have a 'Middle Class'?

Source: Caitlin Zaloom , The Atlantic

Steady work can feel uncertain, too, as some jobs no longer hold real promise of financial stability, let alone upward mobility. Across many states, for example, tax and service cuts have left teachers without raises even as they grapple with outsized classes, crumbling infrastructure, and ancient textbooks.

November 2, 2018

Here Are The Stories Women Are Telling During The Walkout At Google Headquarters

Source: Caroline O’Donovan , Buzzfeed News

Google employees protested the company's handling of sexual misconduct in the workplace at an orchestrated global walkout today, telling stories of harassment and a corporate culture that does not respect women.

Donald Trump’s Top Economic Adviser Thinks The ‘Federal Minimum Wage Is A Terrible Idea’

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

Five days ahead of the midterm elections, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser took to trashing the minimum wage. “My view is a federal minimum wage is a terrible idea ? terrible idea,” Larry Kudlow, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, said in an interview with Washington Post Live on Thursday.

November 1, 2018

Freelancers rights come of age as gig economy booms

Source: Ziad Reslan , Techcrunch

From a modern take on labor unions in the shape of the Freelancers Union to legal tech startups trying to provide freelancers with simple and accessible contracts that protect their rights, freelancer protections are slowly catching up to the incredible growth that the gig economy has seen over the past few years.

U.S. workers see fastest wage growth in a decade, outpacing inflation

Source: Heather Long , The Washington Post

U.S. workers are seeing the largest wage increase in a decade, the Labor Department reported Wednesday, as companies compete harder for employees than they did in recent years.

Can you take paid time off work to vote? It may depend where you live.

Source: Tim Ryan Williams, Vox

These laws are little known and often rarely enforced, according to Paula Brantner, the executive director of the advocacy group Workplace Fairness. “It’s a right without a remedy,” she said; the penalties for breaking these laws are small. (Big companies certainly aren’t emphasizing the possibility of a day off in their get-out-the-vote publicity.) And a worker seeking to sue an employer might find it hard to determine damages.

So it’s on workers to know their rights and make time-off requests. Here are the laws for each of the 50 states, based on information collected by Workplace Fairness, along with the times the polls are open.

October 31, 2018

Defense Contractor Accused of Slighting Reservists in Hiring

Source: Noam Scheiber , The New York Times

L3, which had more than $6 billion in sales to the Defense Department last year, denied liability and any allegations of discrimination. But it agreed to several changes, including no longer asking about military status before extending job offers, training workers on the employment rights of reservists and making it easier for employees to schedule work around their military obligations.

Missouri and Arkansas To Vote On Raising The Minimum Wage On Election Day

Source: Dave Jamieson , Huffington Post

Voters in Missouri and Arkansas will decide next week whether to do what Congress hasn’t done in more than a decade: boost the minimum wage. Both states have referendums on the ballot on Nov. 6 that would bypass their legislatures to gradually raise the minimum wage employers are required to pay.




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