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In the News

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

May 20, 2019

House Democrats Approve LGBT Anti-Discrimination 'Equality Act'

Source: Matthew Daily, Time

Democrats in the House approved sweeping anti-discrimination legislation Friday that would extend civil rights protections to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The protections would extend to employment, housing, loan applications, education, public accommodations and other areas.

Connecticut Senate gives final approval to $15 minimum wage; Gov. Ned Lamont pledges to sign bill

Source: Daniela Altimari, Hartford Courant

Following a deeply personal and highly partisan debate, the Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval early Friday to a bill that would lift the state’s hourly minimum wage to $15 by 2023.

May 17, 2019

Top Five Labor Law Developments For April 2019

Source: Philip B. Rosen, The National Law Review

Top Five Labor Law Developments for April 2019

FMLA Leave: When Can Employers Prorate Bonus Payments?

Source: Kayla A. McCann & Christine Bestor Townsend, The National Law Review

Employers frequently wonder when to pay bonuses to employees on leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Do employees who do not meet certain goals due to leave qualify for such bonuses?

May 16, 2019

Uber Drivers Are Contractors, Labor Board’s Top Lawyer Says

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

Uber drivers aren’t legal “employees” for the purposes of federal labor laws, the U.S. labor board general counsel’s office said in an advisory memo released May 14.

The National Labor Relations Board’s advice memo, dated April 16, means the agency’s general counsel will take the position that workers for companies such as Uber are excluded from federal protections for workplace organizing activities, like trying to form or join a union. In practice, that means Uber workers are without a federal forum if they want to unionize or file what’s known as unfair labor practice charges.

Nike responds to backlash over maternity leave policy

Source: Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News

Nike tells female athletes to dream big — until they want a baby, Olympic runner Alysia Montano alleges in a recent New York Times op-ed. Montano, who has run in U.S. championship races while pregnant, said Nike penalized her for having a baby and that she "had to fight with her sponsor to keep her paycheck."

May 15, 2019

Spy in the screen reveals what workers are worth

Source: Camilla Hodgson, Financial Times

Paula Brantner, senior adviser at Workplace Fairness, said invasive tools could prompt employment lawsuits, but “we’re not on the front lines of that yet.” 

There is often a lag of several years before new technologies are challenged in court, she said, pointing to the handful of US cases that appeared around 2015 in relation to employee GPS tracking. Contracts often stipulate an employer has the right to monitor staff at work, she added.

Labor Law Safeguards for Worker Lawsuits Imperiled at NLRB

Source: Robert Iafolla, Bloomberg Law

Workers could lose a federal labor law’s protections against employer retaliation for filing lawsuits or administrative claims if the National Labor Relations Board agrees with its general counsel in a pending case involving a California construction firm.

Don’t Get Burned by These Tricky Workplace Summer Issues

Source: Beth Zoller, Xpert HR Blog

With summer almost here, the days growing longer and thoughts of time at the pool, beach or barbecue with family and friends not too far off, it’s time to make sure you know how to manage and address the summer issues that will arise with your workforce.

May 14, 2019

Facebook Raises Pay for Thousands of Its U.S. Contract Workers

Source: Kurt Wagner , Fortune

Facebook Inc. said it will give raises to most of its U.S. contract workers, a group of people who have critical roles but aren’t paid or treated as full-time company employees.

House Pushes OSHA to Create a Standard Concerning Workplace Violence in the Healthcare Sector

Source: Trever L. Neuroth, The National Law Review

Members of the House of Representatives recently introduced legislation that would require the Department of Labor (“DOL”) to promulgate a standard addressing workplace violence in the healthcare and social service industries.

May 13, 2019

Trump’s Labor Board Has Unions Shelving Complaints

Source: Andrew Wallender and Hassan A. Kanu, Bloomberg Law

Two-plus years into the Trump administration, labor unions are more often choosing to forego one of the primary tools they use to push back against companies they feel are mistreating workers or failing to bargain in good faith.

What Employers Need To Know About The New EEOC Chair

Source: Richard R. Meneghello, Fisher Phillips

Janet Dhillon’s confirmation as the new Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) earlier this week will have an impact on employers in more ways than one.

May 9, 2019

Google Walkout Organizers Demand HR Investigation After Claims Of Retaliation

Source: Ryan Grenoble, HuffPost

The organizers behind last year’s mass walkout at Google are calling for an investigation into the company’s human resources department, building on claims they made last month that Google is retaliating against them for their roles in the protest.

Uber and Lyft strikes: US drivers stop taking rides in protest over pay

Source: Kari Paul, The Guardian

Rideshare drivers are striking and protesting in major cities across the United States, with many participating in a 24-hour strike of the Uber and Lyft apps.

May 8, 2019

It Seemed Like a Model Green Energy Firm. But Black Workers Paint a Different Picture.

Source: Patrick McGeehan, The New York Times

But six black men who worked for the company, Momentum Solar, painted a far different picture: They contend that the managers of its operation on Long Island fostered a racially hostile work environment and fired employees who complained about it.

Aiding low-wage workers is a matter of life and death — literally

Source: Michael Reich, Anna Godoey, and William H. Dow, The Hill

Our new study, released through the National Bureau of Economic Research, finds that modestly increasing wage supports for low-wage workers could save over 1,200 lives each year.

May 7, 2019

Amazon fired these 7 pregnant workers. Then came the lawsuits

Source: Alfred Ng and Ben Fox Rubin, CNET

CNET reviewed seven lawsuits against Amazon filed by pregnant warehouse workers who were fired over the last eight years and who've alleged that the company failed to accommodate their needs.

Trump's labor department is giving the gig economy carte blanche

Source: Ross Barkan , The Guardian

The labor department’s determination is fantastic news for Uber and Lyft, the ride-hail giants set to go public. About to vacuum up billions, they’ve never turned a profit.

May 6, 2019

It's time to close the pay gap between men and women

Source: Paula Brantner, Los Angeles Times

Pay discrimination can flourish in workplaces where salaries are a highly confidential secret and known only to a handful of people.

Without transparent salary information, you may have no idea about salary differences among people doing the same job. Some companies even threaten to punish employees who discuss this information. While having an explicit policy can violate federal labor laws, employers now count on workers being too intimidated to risk discipline or termination. It's hard to fight unequal pay without knowing what others are making, so the PFA clarifies that companies can't ban these conversations or punish employees who have them.

April jobs report: tons of new jobs and teeny-tiny pay raises

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell, Vox

All the new hiring in April, plus an increase in people leaving the labor force, pushed the already super-low unemployment rate down even further, to 3.6 percent.

Google workers want to outlaw mandatory arbitration. Here’s why this matters.

Source: Sarah Staszak , The Washington Post

Arbitration produces clear winners and losers. Employees win less frequently and receive lower damages in arbitration than in litigation. Employers win more frequently, especially if they use the same arbitrators repeatedly.

May 3, 2019

Verizon workers to confront execs over warehouse “abuses” at shareholder meeting

Source: Marcus Baram, Fast Company

Tasha Murrell wants answers. The former Verizon warehouse worker, who suffered a miscarriage after a supervisor refused her request for light duty, is planning to show up at the company’s annual shareholder meeting today in Orlando.

Why Wages Are Finally Rising, 10 Years After the Recession

Source: Ben Casselman, New York Times

For years it was the central question in an otherwise impressive recovery by the American job market: Why aren’t wages rising faster? Unemployment was low. Hiring was strong.

May 2, 2019

Labor Department says gig workers aren't employees

Source: Irina Ivanova , CBS News

The Trump administration is no fan of big tech companies. But a recent decision from its Department of Labor could give a long-term boost to tech giants like Uber, Lyft and the soon-to-go-public Postmates.

Google Workers Sit-In to Protest Alleged Retaliation Against Women Who Report Sexual Harassment

Source: Caroline Haskins , Vice News

According to a Medium post published Monday by organizers of the walkout and sit-in, four anonymous employees who have reported sexual harassment to Google’s Employee Relations division have had their reports treated irresponsibly.

PRO: It's time to close the pay gap between men and women

Source: Paula Brantner, Chicago Tribune

The 1963 Equal Pay Act (EPA) has made pay discrimination by gender illegal since the Kennedy administration. But this law clearly isn't enough, if we're still talking about significant pay disparities more than a half century later.

The Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA), authored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) is designed to bring the Equal Pay Act into the 21st century. For only the second time since 1997, the House of Representatives recently passed the PFA.

The PFA attacks pay inequity in four key ways...

May 1, 2019

Why May Day is an international workers' holiday — and how it began in Chicago

Source: Tony Briscoe, Chicago Tribune

Today is May 1, May Day, a workers' holiday in most nations, although not the U.S.

Ex-NFL Cheerleaders Speak Out Against Sexism and Abuse: ‘We Deserve to Be Respected’

Source: Amy Zimmerman, The Daily Beast

Their lawsuits are an outright violation of their grooming as NFL cheerleaders, who are consistently told that they should be grateful for the opportunity to perform alongside players for a pittance.

April 30, 2019

Federal Workers Pivot from Shutdown to Defeat Childcare Cuts

Source: Ben Beckett, Labor Notes

But Local 98 used the momentum from its shutdown solidarity efforts to build resistance to a proposed cut to childcare subsidies.

Frontier Worker Can Use Alleged Bias Admission by Prior Boss

Source: Patrick Dorrian, Jay-Anne B. Casuga and Paige Smith, Bloomberg Law

Frontier Communications must face trial on a call center manager’s claims that he was passed over for promotion because he is East Indian and because of his gender, a divided Ninth Circuit ruled April 29.

April 29, 2019

Millions of Americans are working past 65, and it's not because they can't afford to retire

Source: Tanza Loudenback , Business Insider

Not all baby boomers are itching to retire. The greatest share of older Americans in more than 50 years are working well into their 60s, and it's not because they need the money.

Trump tried to sabotage a plan to close the gender pay gap. A judge wouldn’t have it.

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Thursday’s court order says the EEOC must collect the pay data by September, likely putting an end to a drawn-out legal battle over a seemingly bland paperwork change that has the potential to close the persistent gender pay gap in US workplaces.

April 26, 2019

Visa Rejections for Tech Workers

Source: Issie Lapowsky , Wired

Usha is one of thousands of current US tech workers who have had their visas suddenly rejected thanks to new policies implemented by President Trump’s administration.

How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity’

Source: Colin Lecher , The Verge

Critics say those fulfillment center workers face strenuous conditions: workers are pressed to “make rate,” with some packing hundreds of boxes per hour, and losing their job if they don’t move fast enough.

April 25, 2019

Divided Supreme Court sides with business owners over workers in class arbitration ruling

Source: Robert Barnes , The Washington Post

A split Supreme Court delivered a win to business owners Tuesday, saying that workers cannot band together in arbitration proceedings unless their employment contracts specifically allow it.

Opinion: It’s time to call out Disney — and anyone else rich off their workers’ backs

Source: Abigail Disney , The Washington Post

I have been quietly grumbling about this issue for some time now, uncertain how public to be. It is time to call out the men and women who lead us and to draw a line in the sand about how low we are prepared to let hard-working people sink while top management takes home ever-more-outrageous sums of money.

April 24, 2019

Why gender pay-gap truthers are on the rise

Source: Zoe Williams , The Guardian

The gender pay-gap truther”. It is such a distinctive phrase: that neologism of “truther” sitting peculiarly against the throwback of “pay gap”. Something about it tells you immediately that these truthers, like anti-vaxxers, like Russian trollbots, have been around longer than you realise.

The Company That Sells Love to America Had a Dark Secret

Source: Taffy Brodesser-Akner , The New York Times

Women contacting them talked about groping and sexual coercion and sexual degradation and rape. Eventually they amassed more than 200 sworn statements from women who, for the most part, didn’t know one another. Some men gave statements, too, haunted by what they had seen at the company and what they had participated in.

April 23, 2019

Supreme Court to rule whether civil rights law bans discrimination against LGBTQ employees

Source: Pete Williams , NBC News

The Supreme Court said Monday it will decide whether existing civil rights laws ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a question that has divided the nation's lower courts.

Opinion: How women are transforming organized labor

Source: Kim Kelly , The Washington Post

Today, public support for unions is at a record high, the feared fallout of the Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME failed to materialize, and fast-growing sectors like digital media and fast-food service have added thousands of members to union rolls.

April 22, 2019

Know your rights: A breastfeeding mom's guide to pumping at work

Source: Meghan Holohan, Today

There are federal and state laws that protect women who need to pump at work.

“The protection is part of the Affordable Care Act, which went into effect in 2010, which amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, and required employers give women a reasonable break period in order to express milk,” Paula Brantner, senior advisor at Workplace Fairness, told TODAY.

The labor-rights activist who helped win 2 million US caregivers higher wages warns that robots aren't the real threat to workers

Source: Richard Feloni , Business Insider

Sarita Gupta's mission is to ensure that we don't forget "the future of workers" in our ongoing discussion on "the future of work." As the co-executive director of the union rights group Jobs with Justice, Gupta has spent her career as a leading voice for American workers.

Opinion: Paying women less than men for substantially similar work is wage theft

Source: Julie Su , Sacramento Bee

Gender pay equity is about eliminating disparities between women and men. It is about fairness. And it is also about fighting poverty. In California, paying women less is a form of wage theft.

April 19, 2019

Ann Arbor Coffee Chain Baristas Say They’re Being Laid Off After Unionizing

Source: Brenna Houck , Eater Detroit

Employees at Mighty Good Coffee tell WXYZ that they were in the midst of their first union contract negotiation when they received notice on Monday, April 15 that all four of the company’s cafes would be shuttering on Friday, April 19.

Employers and Unions Talk Retraining, Just Not in Contracts

Source: Jaclyn Diaz and Andrew Wallender , Bloomberg Law

When unions address worker retraining, they do so for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s a reaction to layoffs and plant shutdowns or, in the case of the health-care industry, hospital consolidation, said Daniel Bustillo, the director of the Healthcare Career Advancement Program. H-CAP is a national network of Service Employees International Unions and health-care employers.

April 18, 2019

Instagram Memers Are Unionizing

Source: Taylor Lorenz , The Atlantic

Instagram memers have had enough. They generate the engagement that helps keep Instagram growing—but, they argue, the multibillion-dollar platform doesn’t pay them for their work, or give them any control. So they’re fighting back.

Why big business is giving up its fight against a higher minimum wage

Source: Lydia DePillis, CNN Business

Corporate America has been, shall we say, evolving on the minimum wage in recent years.

April 16, 2019

Stop & Shop workers’ strike enters fifth day

Source: Jim Shay , CT Post

On the fifth day of a workers’ strike, negotiations on a new contract for Stop & Shop’s 31,000 employees will continue on Monday. United Food and Commercial Workers Local 919 said met Sunday with the food giant’s negotiaters.

McDonald’s retreat on fighting wage increases shows the tide is turning

Source: Sarah Lahm , Salon

In March, the McDonald’s Corporation announced that it would no longer actively lobby against local, state and federal efforts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The move comes as Democrats in the U.S. House have thrown their weight behind a bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2024.

April 15, 2019

Employee privacy in the US is at stake as corporate surveillance technology monitors workers’ every move

Source: Ellen Sheng , CNBC

Privacy advocates fear that, if the new technology is not wielded carefully, workers could be at risk of losing any sense of privacy while on the job.

A key labor moment arrives at the University of Pittsburgh. Will grad assistants vote to join a union?

Source: Bill Schackner , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

First came a push to get prospective members to sign cards indicating support, then a petition seeking a campus election and finally a hearing before state labor officials, who ultimately gave that vote the green light.

Older workers are America’s fastest-growing labor pool — and the least protected from workplace discrimination

Source: Noah Higgings-Dunn , CNBC

Over the past decade, real wage growth has stagnated, pensions have disappeared, workers are delaying claiming Social Security benefits to maximize payouts, and lifespans are longer, leaving seniors worried they will burn through their retirement savings way too soon.

April 12, 2019

Participation in California's Paid Family Leave Program is Growing, But Who's Benefiting?

Source: Katie Orr , KQED

Unlike workers in a lot of other states, many Californians have access to a state-run paid family leave program. Participation in the program is growing.

Gig worker? Here's why tax season will be tougher for you

Source: Paul Davidson , USA Today

Freelancers, independent contractors and other gig workers are getting clobbered this tax season, with fewer getting refunds and more owing money compared to traditional employees.

April 11, 2019

Want to be a whistleblower? Read this first

Source: meera, MarketWatch

Fully inform yourself of the potential risks involved, including retaliation, added employment attorney Paula Brantner, a senior adviser to the nonprofit Workplace Fairness. “The laws are complicated, the protections aren’t always straightforward, and there can be consequences,” she told MarketWatch.

“The legal system offers what protection it offers, but it’s rarely tilted in favor of the little guy and gal — so it can be very scary, it can be very intimidating, and relief may be a long time in coming.”

New Labor Rule Means Gig Economy Workers In Texas Can’t Get Unemployment Benefits

Source: Andrew Weber , Houston Public Media

The state’s labor regulator on Tuesday approved a controversial new rule on gig economy workers – a rule opponents say will have far-reaching implications for these workers going forward.

Bank of America is giving its tellers a huge raise. It’s not out of generosity.

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Bank of America announced Tuesday that it would raise starting pay for bank employees in the US to $20 an hour in the next two years, a huge jump from the current $15 hourly rate.

April 10, 2019

American layoffs and firings are at a 20-year low

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

About 30,000 Toys R Us employees got pink slips last year. Media companies fired more than 2,400 workers in the past three months. And Elon Musk is planning to let go of 3,000 employees at Tesla.

Opinion: To Uber, I'm a driver but not a worker. But their billion-dollar IPO is built off my labor.

Source: Mostafa Maklad , NBC News

When Uber goes public this month, it will likely become the most valuable private company in existence. And yet the people that created most of that potential $120 billion in value — the drivers — are not valued by the company.

April 9, 2019

Labor Dept proposes new rules on joint employer standard

Source: Joyce M. Rosenberg , Associated Press

The Labor Department is proposing new rules to determine whether companies can be considered joint employers, sharing control over workers in one of the businesses.

Labor Department Official Resigns Amid Possible Ethics Probe

Source: Tyrone Richardson , Bloomberg Law

A Labor Department official who worked for a steel company in a lawsuit against a worker union after joining the Trump administration has stepped down from his post in the face of ethics questions. Associate Deputy Labor Secretary Michael Avakian resigned effective April 5, a Labor Department official told Bloomberg Law.

April 8, 2019

Listen: Better Life Lab: Schedule Chaos

Source: Brigid Schulte , Slate

While an unpredictable schedule has always been a part of a restaurant worker’s experience, the advent of scheduling technology and the pressure to keep labor costs low have turned the schedules—and lives—of most restaurant and retail workers upside down.

The latest jobs report shows why it’s still a workers’ labor market

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Employers added a solid 196,000 new jobs to the US economy in March — slightly more than economists expected, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But wage growth slowed back to a crawl. Despite the tightening labor market, workers only got a 4-cent average hourly pay raise in March.

The Robot Will Hear You Now: Easing Job Harassment Reporting

Source: Paige Smith, Bloomberg Law

“We have been monitoring the rise of these with #MeToo,” Workplace Fairness senior adviser and attorney Paula Brantner told Bloomberg Law. “We’re trying to figure out if we can establish relationships.”

While hopeful, Brantner doesn’t want to see chatbots replace human interactions or listening only for “magic words” that might trigger a red flag for litigation potential in an interview.

“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?”

April 5, 2019

Microsoft workers shared dozens of sexual harassment stories on an internal email chain

Source: Shannon Liao , The Verge

Microsoft employees have been sharing stories of sexual harassment and discrimination in an internal email chain that exceeds 90 pages, as first reported by Quartz. Many say that they had brought up initial complaints to HR, but no action was taken.

Freelancers Want to Join Unions but Labor Laws Won't Let Them

Source: Kim Kelly , Teen Vogue

Even without a union, workers who have been misclassified or left out entirely still have a number of potential labor comrades to lean on. Labor doesn't just mean labor unions; the movement itself is a broad, intersectional network of working people who use diverse means to fight for their rights.

April 4, 2019

Disney Hit With Gender Pay Gap Class Action Suit

Source: Gene Maddaus , Variety

The suit also alleges that Disney does not have an internal mechanism to ensure that women are not paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. “Like other companies that operate without transparency, consistency, and accountability, Disney’s leadership tends to value male workers more than female workers,” the suit alleges.

Democrats want to ban mandatory arbitration at work. Senate Republicans are listening.

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Millions of Americans have unknowingly signed or accepted these contract clauses, in which they agree to take legal disputes to private arbitration — a secretive legal forum with no judge, no jury, and practically zero government oversight. In private arbitration, workers are less likely to win their cases, and when they do win, they tend to get much less money than they would in court.

April 3, 2019

Super Bowl workers say they've still not been paid - eight weeks later.

Source: Elwyn Lopez , WXIA Atlanta

The Super Bowl came and left Atlanta. But some of those who worked the big event say they still haven't been paid what they are owed more than two months later.

You’ve heard that women make 80 cents to men’s dollar. It’s much worse than that.

Source: Anna North , Vox

To account for this, the report’s authors looked at women’s earnings across a 15-year period, and compared those with men’s. What they found was a pay gap nearly twice as big as what’s traditionally reported: averaged out over 15 years, women made just 49 cents for every dollar men made.

April 2, 2019

Labor Department to Limit Companies’ 'Joint Employer’ Liability

Source: Chris Opfer , Bloomberg Law

The Labor Department today will roll out a proposal to shield franchisers and businesses that hire workers through staffing firms from liability for some minimum wage and overtime pay violations.

Can paid family medical leave help close the gender pay gap?

Source: Nancy Reichman, The Hill

As we approach April 2, Equal Pay Day, the day in 2019 when women’s average earnings would finally equal the 2018 earnings of an average man, it is worth considering the important role paid medical and family leave might play in reducing the persistent earnings gap between men and women.

April 1, 2019

#MeToo contributes to Iowa's ‘high bar’ for taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlements

Source: Shelby Fleig, Des Moines Register

In Iowa, the number of successful trials and settlements has, in essence, set the bar pretty high for what could happen at trial,” said Paula Brantner, a senior adviser at the national nonprofit Workplace Fairness, which promotes employee rights. “Especially as part of the #MeToo climate, and having people known to be very good attorneys getting larger verdicts, those advising the government agencies may say, 'Hey, it’s really risky to take this to trial.

Waging war on wage theft

Source: Stephanie Overman , Salon

Wage theft steals from society as well as from individual workers, according to Ruark. When people do not receive wages or benefits that were rightly earned, “they have less to spend in their communities.

Economic Insecurity Is Becoming the New Hallmark of Old Age

Source: Katherine S. Newman and Rebecca Hayes Jacobs , The Nation

Across the spectrum, workers have responded to the crisis by planning to work many more years than they had expected, only to find that they cannot hold onto the jobs they had in their 50s.

March 29, 2019

Loans for Federal Workers: New Maryland Law Will Help During Government Shutdowns

Source: Pamela Wood , Governing

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill into law on Tuesday that creates a fund to give loans to federal employees who are forced to work without pay during government shutdowns.

Thousands of workers at US factories in Mexico are striking for higher wages

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Hundreds of Coca-Cola workers are camping out at a major bottling plant until they get a raise. More than 8,000 Walmart employees were prepared to walk off the job, until management met some of their demands.

March 28, 2019

A job-scarce town struggles with Arkansas’s first-in-nation Medicaid work rules

Source: Amy Goldstein , Washington Post

This community — scarce on jobs and among the poorest in a poor state — provides an early reality check on how hard it is to carry out President Trump’s vision of a social safety net that requires most able-bodied people to work, or try to work, in exchange for government health benefits.

The House just passed a bill to close the gender pay gap

Source: Ella Nilsen , Vox

House Democrats easily passed the Paycheck Fairness Act on Wednesday — their latest in a long series of attempts to make sure women and men are paid equally. The final vote was 242-187.

March 27, 2019

How the Horrific Tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Led to Workplace Safety Laws

Source: Patrick J. Kiger , History

The March 25, 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire was one of the deadliest workplace catastrophes in U.S. history, claiming the lives of 146 workers, most of them women immigrants in their teens and twenties.

Thousands of Uber drivers are striking in Los Angeles

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Uber and Lyft drivers in Los Angeles are refusing to pick up customers today — part of a one-day strike to protest Uber’s recent decision to slash pay rates for drivers in the area. Last week, Uber slashed its per-mile pay by 25 percent in Los Angeles County and parts of Orange County.

March 26, 2019

8.2 million workers could lose out on higher overtime pay if Trump rule OK’d, study says

Source: Elisabeth Buchwald , MarketWatch

More than 8 million workers who would have become eligible for overtime pay under an Obama-era proposal would lose out under an alternative plan by the Trump administration, a new report contends.

How Do We Punish Bad Men While Protecting Restaurant Workers?

Source: Ashley Goldsmith , Eater

While employees may end up making less money if they stay at the restaurant being boycotted, they’ll also lose money if they start a new job and get put on the less-profitable lunch shifts.

March 25, 2019

Watching the Workers

Source: Tam Harbert, SHRM

Despite those reservations, some privacy advocates think the percentage of employees who accept monitoring will continue to increase. "It's a battle that unfortunately we've mostly lost," says Paula Brantner, senior advisor of Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit that promotes employee rights, and president of consulting firm PB Work Solutions. "Employees are acclimated to it. [As consumers] they've already forfeited their privacy in a lot of different ways." Between wearable devices such as fitness trackers, social media posts and smartphone applications, she says, "people are already giving up data left and right."

Wage gap between top employees and everyone else is 'off the chart'

Source: Adrianna Belmonte , Yahoo Finance

“You’re seeing a disconnect between economic growth and growth in wages for typical workers,” Gould said. The fact that the high-wage earners are pulling further away from the others is “indicative of the growing inequality that we’re seeing in this country over the last four decades.”

‘I'm really struggling’ — Facing pay cuts, some ride-hailing drivers prepare to strike

Source: Johana Bhuiyan , Los Angeles Times

Frustrations are mounting among some Uber and Lyft drivers about wages and treatment. But because ride-hailing drivers are classified as independent contractors instead of employees, unionizing — a common way for discontented workers to bring about change — is something of a non-starter.

March 22, 2019

Transit Unions Are Drawing Up a Plan to Confront Autonomous Vehicles

Source: Brian Merchant , Gizmodo

As institutional embrace of automation continues to create a mounting threat to existing jobs, unions are formally taking note. Last year, the largest Las Vegas service workers union organized a strike partly over casinos’ plans to embrace automated systems, and the union won language in the resulting contract that included protections against automation.

Janus’s Progeny? A Supreme Court Threat to Majority Rule Looms

Source: William A. Herbert & Joseph A. McCartin , The American Prospect

A ruling in favor of Uradnik or Bierman would be a more serious blow to the entire system of collective bargaining than Janus, which left intact the principle of majority rule under which unions can be selected by a majority and empowered to bargain on behalf of a voting-eligible constituency.

March 21, 2019

At Trump’s Federal Labor Police, Lights Are On But No One’s Home

Source: Chris Opfer , Bloomberg BNA

Federal labor investigators last year approved a complaint against the Education Department for allegedly trying to bust the union that represents its employees.

Kickstarter Employees Plan to Unionize

Source: Bryan Menegus , Gizmodo

Employees at Kickstarter, the decade-old crowdfunding platform, are planning to unionize—potentially making them the first organized labor force among major tech firms.

March 20, 2019

For Many Low Wage Workers, Housing Is Out Of Reach

Source: Steph Whiteside , Illinois Public Media

An estimated 10,643 people in Illinois are homeless according to federal data. Many of those are working - but still can’t make ends meet. When it comes to addressing homelessness in Illinois, one issue stands out. For many working families, housing just isn’t affordable.

Facebook allowed companies to post job ads only men could see. Now that’s changing.

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

The company announced Tuesday that it was settling five lawsuits filed last year by civil rights groups that claimed the platform’s business model allowed companies to illegally advertise job opportunities, home sales, and credit offers that were only visible to men, young people, and users in white neighborhoods.

March 19, 2019

The Oakland Teachers’ Strike Revealed California’s Education Crisis

Source: Bryce Covert , The Nation

During the strike, Oakland teachers argued that their district is to blame for spending the money it does have in the wrong places: too many administrators at the top, pricey reports from consultants, and even replacement teachers during the strike.

Kickstarter Employees Plan to Unionize

Source: Bryan Menegus , Gizmodo

Employees at Kickstarter, the decade-old crowdfunding platform, are planning to unionize—potentially making them the first organized labor force among major tech firms.

March 18, 2019

Even tech workers can’t afford to buy homes in San Francisco

Source: Shirin Ghaffary , Recode

But increasingly, even tech workers — some of the Bay Area’s highest-paid residents — are having a hard time achieving the bedrock of the American Dream: home ownership.

The US is experiencing a widespread worker shortage. Here’s why.

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

It’s official: The US economy doesn’t have enough workers. For nearly a year now, the number of open jobs each month has been higher than the number of people looking for work — the first time that’s happened since the Department of Labor began tracking job turnover two decades ago.

March 15, 2019

Workers demand state protection from wage theft

Source: Jeniffer Solis , Nevada Current

The Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center got its start a little more than a year ago by surveying 300 day laborers. One-third had been a victim of wage theft in the two months prior to the survey.

'Full-Time Freelance' Is Just the Industry Standard

Source: Jack Crosbie , Splinter News

On Monday, David Tamarkin, the site editor at Epicurious, a Condé Nast food publication, tweeted out a job posting for an editorial assistant. The position, Tamarkin wrote, was “full-time freelance,” meaning the person filling the job would work 40 hours a week and perform the duties of a full-time employee, without any of the benefits and perks.

March 14, 2019

When retailers go bust, workers often get nothing

Source: Kate Gibson , CBS News

For employees at the slew of big stores that have collapsed in recent years, such bankruptcies are often financially devastating for reasons that go beyond losing their jobs.

Tech is largely non-union. Could media be the missing link?

Source: Cale Guthrie Weissman , FastCompany

In today’s volatile media landscape, any new organization collectively coming together is big news. But Gimlet’s union is especially exciting because the company was recently bought by Spotify for over $200 million.

March 13, 2019

New Documentary Reveals the Deadly Cost of Texas’ Anti-Worker Agenda

Source: Gus Bova , The Texas Observer

As soon as this week, the Texas Senate could vote on Senate Bill 15, a sweeping pre-emption bill that would stop cities from passing progressive labor policies requiring private employers to provide any type of benefit, leave or scheduling accommodation.

Uber to Pay $20 Million to Settle Driver Classification Suit

Source: Joel Rosenblatt , Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. will pay $20 million to settle California lawsuits challenging the company’s classification of drivers as independent contractors, and not employees owed the benefits of traditional employment.

March 12, 2019

The Long Fight for Pay Equality in Sports

Source: Maya Salam , The New York Times

Last week, all 28 players on the U.S. women’s national soccer team — the greatest women’s soccer team in the world — filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation, another move in its long-running battle for equality.

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