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In the News

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

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.

Labor Department issues proposed regulations on overtime

Source: Joyce M. Rosenberg , Associated Press

The Labor Department has issued its long-awaited proposed regulations on overtime. The proposal would raise the pay threshold at which workers would be exempt from overtime to $35,308 from the current $23,660.

March 11, 2019

New York's paid vacation law could cost companies $1.6 billion a year

Source: James Langford, Washington Examiner

The traction that such initiatives gained around the country may signal that paid-vacation initiatives will also spread — perhaps as high as the federal level, according to Wayne Outten, the founding partner of Outten & Golden and president of Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit group that advocates for employee rights...Another pressure point may be that the U.S. lags behind most other industrialized Western nations on paid leave. Among the reasons is the relative weakness of the country’s unions, Outten said. While organized labor won the passage of U.S. laws guaranteeing a 40-hour work week and a minimum wage during the early 20th century, its strength has dissipated in the decades since.

Manufacturing workers, black men among losers in February jobs report

Source: Paul Davidson , USA Today

The February jobs report was a downer, with just 20,000 jobs added, the fewest since September 2017, when hurricanes skewed the total.

More women work in construction that’s still a man’s world

Source: Verena Dobnik , Associated Press

The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York is working with a nonprofit group, Nontraditional Employment for Women (NEW), which runs a pre-apprenticeship program for women who want to become plumbers, electricians, carpenters and members of other trades.

March 8, 2019

Trump Wants To Expand Overtime Pay, But To Way Fewer Workers Than Obama Did

Source: Dave Jamieson , The Huffington Post

The Trump administration announced Thursday that it plans to change labor regulations so that more salaried workers are eligible for overtime pay when they work long hours.

Wendy’s and Its Tomatoes Come Under Fire From Farm Workers’ Campaign

Source: Noam Scheiber , The New York Times

Over the past decade, it has helped transform the state’s tomato industry from one in which wage theft and violence were rampant to an industry with the some of the highest labor standards in American agriculture.

March 7, 2019

Bill Raising Federal Minimum Wage To $15 Heads To U.S. House Floor

Source: Alina Selyukh , NPR

A bill to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour has cleared a legislative hurdle that sets it up for a vote by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks.

MLB teams need catchers at spring training. They just don't want to pay them.

Source: Ted Berg , USA Today

Baseball players have never been paid for spring training. And that they should endure it unsalaried is more than just a relic of Major League Baseball’s ages-old structure. It is a reality the sport strives to maintain.

March 6, 2019

Can the Courts Strike Down Right-to-Work?

Source: Shaun Richman , The American Prospect

Last week, in a move that’s as likely to baffle union activists as it is to encourage them, a West Virginia judge struck down key portions of the state’s “right-to-work” law.

Walmart’s Elimination of Greeters May Open New Front on ADA Law

Source: Paige Smith and Andrew Wallender , Bloomberg BNA

Walmart Inc.'s move to shift its iconic People Greeter jobs into ones requiring more physical duties may set new legal precedents for how a business can adjust its workforce within the limits of the law protecting people with disabilities.

March 5, 2019

Amazon's culture is reportedly so hard on working parents that some people don't mention their kids or display family pictures

Source: Julie Bort , Business Insider

Some women feel this pressure so accurately they don't even mention that they have kids to their coworkers, and don't display family photos at work for fear of being labeled a "distracted mom."

Female Factor: Women Drive the Labor-Force Comeback

Source: Vanessa Fuhrmans , The Wall Street Journal

The share of prime-age women who are in the labor pool rose to 75.8% in the last quarter of 2018 from 73.8% three years earlier, federal data show.

March 4, 2019

Robot Workers Can't Go on Strike But They Can Go Up in Flames

Source: Katie Linsell and Ellen Milligan , Bloomberg

Machines are increasingly creeping into retail as consumers demand convenience, cheap prices and quick delivery.

The average worker isn’t seeing Trump’s “economic miracle.” Here’s why.

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

You may have heard President Donald Trump say that the US economy is booming right now. That’s an exaggeration, but the economy is definitely growing, as the latest economic indicators show.

March 1, 2019

How to Rebuild the Labor Movement, State by State

Source: Alexander Hertel-Fernandez , The American Prospect

Last year’s strikes and direct action by workers, especially red-state public school teachers, have rightly been celebrated for injecting new energy into the American labor movement.

Workplace discrimination is illegal. But our data shows it’s still a huge problem.

Source: Maryam Jameel and Joe Yerardi , Vox

No group of workers alleging discrimination — age, gender, disability, or otherwise — fares well.

February 28, 2019

Workers Who Get Tips Are Closing in on a Massive Raise

Source: Will Greenberg , Vice News

Politicians across America are getting serious about fighting for tipped workers in 2019. But they still face an uphill battle.

Federal judge dismisses lawsuit over D.C. rule requiring child-care workers to get college degrees

Source: Samantha Schmidt, The Washington Post

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit intended to block controversial D.C. regulations requiring many of the city’s child-care workers to earn associate degrees.

February 27, 2019

The gig economy is quietly undermining a century of worker protections

Source: Ephrat Livni , Quartz

No kid ever dreamed of growing up and driving for Uber or styling for Stitch Fix. In part, that’s because none of those companies existed when most of today’s adults were young. It’s also because, besides its much-touted “flexibility,” the gig economy isn’t much of a place to build a career.

Workers with disabilities feel targeted after Walmart changes job requirements, report says

Source: Jessica Bursztynsky , CNBC

Walmart is changing its job requirements for front-door greeters in a way that will likely disproportionately affect workers with disabilities, according to a report by NPR.

February 26, 2019

New Legislation Aims to Clarify Who Is an Employee

Source: Larry Buhl , The American Prospect

A new California Assembly bill introduced by Lorena Gonzalez would codify the same ABC test to determine who’s “independent” and who’s an employee. If passed into state law, Assembly Bill 5 could have consequences for workers across the U.S.

Roma: how Alfonso Cuarón’s movie is spurring Mexico to treat domestic workers more fairly

Source: Karina Patricio Ferreira Lima and Arely Cruz-Santiago , The Conversation

Cleo’s long working days are magnificently portrayed by director Alfonso Cuarón in Roma, which has just won three Oscars, including best director.

February 25, 2019

The $15 Minimum Wage Doesn’t Just Improve Lives. It Saves Them.

Source: Matthew Desmond, The New York Times Magazine

A $15 minimum wage is an antidepressant. It is a sleep aid. A diet. A stress reliever. It is a contraceptive, preventing teenage pregnancy. It prevents premature death. It shields children from neglect.

How Amy Klobuchar Treats Her Staff

Source: Matt Flegenheimer and Sydney Ember, The New York Times

As Ms. Klobuchar joins the 2020 presidential race, many of these former aides say she was not just demanding but often dehumanizing — not merely a tough boss in a capital full of them but the steward of a work environment colored by volatility, highhandedness and distrust.

Freelancers aren’t protected by equal employment laws. So what should they do when they face discrimination?

Source: Michelle Nickolaisen, Quartz at Work

This week we look back to the summer when Senior Advisor Paula Brantner talked about how to deal with discrimination as an independent contractor.

Paula Brantner, a lawyer at Workplace Fairness, a worker’s rights organization offers this advice:

“That’s sometimes the only remedy you have—naming and shaming someone. The company will often make noises about suing...”

February 22, 2019

This investor wants to put an employee on Google’s board

Source: Jena McGregor, The Washington Post

If the proposal ends up on the company’s proxy this year, it would likely be a first for a technology company and one of the rare occasions when a shareholder has tried to get an employee onto a U.S. corporate board.

MLB players oppose closing of unionized cap plant in NY

Source: The Associated Press, AP

The baseball players’ union is urging the sport’s exclusive cap supplier to keep open its plant in Derby, New York, and not move production to a nonunionized facility in Florida.

February 21, 2019

Why Aren't Women Advancing More in Corporate America

Source: Emily Bazelon, The New York Times Magazine

From the 1970s into the 1990s, women made serious progress in the workplace, achieving higher positions, closing the gender wage gap and moving into male-dominated fields. Then that progress stalled, especially at the top. Why?

West Virginia Strikes Again, Defeating Privatization Bill in a Single Day

Source: Barbara Madeloni, Labor Notes

West Virginia teachers emboldened educators across the country last year when they struck to defend their health insurance and win raises. But when the legislature returned this January, hostile legislators brought forward an omnibus education bill.

February 20, 2019

People with disabilities face a massive employment gap

Source: Ben Paynter, FastCompany

Slightly more people with disabilities entered the workforce in 2017 compared to the year before. But that positive stat belies some more negative numbers: The rate of new job growth for people with disabilities has slowed. People with disabilities are still hired at less than half the rate of those without them, and are paid less. Add racial disparities, and the numbers get even worse.

Payless plans to close during its second bankruptcy, costing 16,000 workers their jobs

Source: Chris Isidore, CNN

The bankruptcy filing Monday follows the start of going-out-of-business sales Sunday at its 2,500 US and Canadian stores. About 16,000 employees will lose their jobs. Store closings begin in March and should conclude by the end of May.

February 19, 2019

Walmart facing gender discrimination lawsuits from female employees

Source: Michael Sainato , The Guardian

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is once again facing a raft of sexual discrimination lawsuits – eight years after the supreme court blocked the company from facing the largest gender discrimination case ever brought against an employer.

SEIU Appeal Implicates Strikes, Worker Actions Across U.S.

Source: Hassan A. Kanu , Bloomberg Law

A janitors’ union in San Francisco has taken on a court battle with major implications for what workers can do to protest their employers’ practices, and the fight starts immediately in the wake of a government finding that more individual Americans went on strike in 2018 than any year since 1986.

February 18, 2019

Is Time Really Up for Sexual Harassment in the Workplace? Companies and Law Firms Respond

Source: Hannah Hayes, American Bar Association

Workplace Fairness' Senior Advisor and former Executive Director, Paula Brantner, talks with the American Bar Association about how companies deal with sexual harassment and how things have changed.

One difference Brantner sees is that liability no longer guides company policy. In the past, many organizations were content to "check off the boxes" in terms of training, sending the message that if it didn’t meet the standards of legal liability, the company had little interest in pursuing it.

"You want to create a culture where certain things just aren’t done—not because it violates the law, but because it doesn’t reflect company values", Brantner points out.

Fired for not smiling enough? US fast-food workers fight unfair dismissals

Source: Steven Greenhouse , The Guardian

It’s easy to get fired in fast food. According to a recent report, one fast-food worker said she was fired because her nails were too long; another because she said she didn’t smile enough.

Teachers are leading a national workers’ revolt. Oakland may be next.

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

The strikes in Arizona, West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, California, and Colorado had broad public support, forcing state lawmakers to raise pay and fueling a national movement to boost investment in public education. So far, that momentum shows no signs of slowing down.

February 15, 2019

Here's How Normal People Beat Jeff Bezos and Amazon

Source: Ankita Rao , Vice News

When Amazon announced Thursday it had cancelled its extremely controversial plan to build a new headquarters in New York City, it represented a shocking win for a growing resistance comprised of politicians, union workers, and residents.

Instacart Workers’ Revolt Over Tips Reveals A Big Problem For The Gig Economy

Source: Caroline O’Donovan , Buzzfeed News

In the face of widespread public outcry, Instacart last week scrapped a controversial policy that used tips to subsidize the minimum payments it promises workers.

February 14, 2019

DoorDash reveals how much it relies on customer tips to pay its workers

Source: Sean Captain , Fast Company

In its ideal world, food-delivery service DoorDash would pay its contractors almost nothing–relying on customer tips to cover most of the fee quoted for a job. In the real world, conditions are usually not so ideal, as DoorDash reveals to Fast Company, for the first time disclosing the share of driver payments that come via tips from users.

A record number of US workers went on strike in 2018

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Last year’s labor unrest started with a teachers strike in West Virginia and ended with Marriott workers picketing across four states. A record number of US workers went on strike or stopped working in 2018 because of labor disputes with employers, according to new data released Tuesday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

February 13, 2019

After Winning a $15 Minimum Wage, Fast Food Workers Now Battle Unfair Firings

Source: Patrick McGeehan , The New York Times

New York City’s fast-food industry has served as a laboratory for the nation’s labor movement for the last several years. Its workers were the first to stage rallies demanding a minimum wage of $15 an hour. Then, they pressed for changes in the way national restaurant chains set their work schedules.

This grievance board for federal workers has one person left — and he’s about to leave

Source: Lisa Rein , Washington Post

His departure as acting chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board, which serves as a personnel court for federal employees, raises an existential question: Can the board still live and function with no one at the top? The answer could determine whether thousands of federal workers will have their grievances heard.

February 12, 2019

Revolt of the gig workers: How delivery rage reached a tipping point

Source: Carolyn Said , San Francisco Chronicle

Gig workers are fighting back. By their name, you might think independent contractors are a motley crew — geographically scattered, with erratic paychecks and tattered safety nets. They report to faceless software subroutines rather than human bosses.

Think Federal Workers Have It Bad? It's Worse for State and Local Employees.

Source: Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene , Governing

For state and local government workers, the numbers are worse. Nearly half -- 47 percent -- of people working for cities and counties earn $50,000 or less, according to the Center for State and Local Government Excellence’s estimates based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

February 11, 2019

House Democrats’ new plan for a $15 minimum wage, explained

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

On Thursday, the House Committee on Education and Labor held its first hearing on the Raise the Wage Act, which would eventually double the federal minimum wage by 2024.

Shortage of home-care workers in US, Arizona called a 'growing crisis

Source: Carmen Duarte , Arizona Daily Star

A nationwide shortage of in-home caregivers is expected to create about 1.4 million new job openings by 2026 because of the rising demand as the U.S. population grows older.

ENTIRE INDUSTRIES ARE BEING BLACKLISTED BY INSURERS OVER #METOO LIABILITY

Source: Susan Antilla, The Intercept_

AM Best, a global ratings firm for the insurance industry, suggested in a January 28 report that to combat corporate misconduct, companies “may choose to be proactive” by providing training and education for employees. Training, though, gets mixed reviews. Brantner, the employee advocate, said training programs have historically been focused on limiting a company’s liability — not necessarily on improving the workplace.

February 8, 2019

Face of Trump’s Job Training Agenda Marred by Vacancies, Confusion

Source: Jaclyn Diaz , Bloomberg Law

The federal office tasked with carrying out the Trump administration’s expansion of job training and apprenticeship programs is struggling in the face of staff and leadership vacancies, sources familiar with Labor Department operations told Bloomberg Law.

Government workers still waiting for paychecks after end of shutdown

Source: The Associated Press , The Associated Press

Many federal workers still have not received their back pay or have only gotten a fraction of what they are owed as government agencies struggle with payroll glitches and other delays, nearly two weeks after the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S history.

February 7, 2019

Some Workers Can Now Trade Vacation Time for Student Loan Relief

Source: Matt Taylor , Vice

When CNBC reported last May that hundreds of businesses were offering to help pay down their employees' student loans, it seemed like a positive development, a way for debt-saddled workers to get some relief.

In new report on automation, some good news for Minnesota’s workers

Source: Walker Orenstein , Minn Post

As technology continues to change the American workplace and the U.S. economy, roughly one quarter of jobs in the country are at high risk of becoming largely automated in the next decade and beyond, according to a new report from The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

February 6, 2019

Low-Income Workers Are Less Likely to Receive Employer-Funded Insurance

Source: Erin Corbett , Fortune

Wealthier people are more likely to receive employer-sponsored insurance than low-wage workers. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that just 28% of full-time workers below the federal poverty level received benefits from their employers, as low-income jobs are less likely to offer company subsidized benefits to workers.

Tech Is Splitting the U.S. Work Force in Two

Source: Eduardo Porter , The New York Times

But automation is changing the nature of work, flushing workers without a college degree out of productive industries, like manufacturing and high-tech services, and into tasks with meager wages and no prospect for advancement. Automation is splitting the American labor force into two worlds.

February 5, 2019

How Unpaid Internships Reinforce the Racial Wealth Gap

Source: Trevor Smith , The American Prospect

When discussing racism in the United States, few statistics are more revealing than the racial wealth gap. According to the Economic Policy Institute, median household wealth for white families is 12 times higher than that of black families.

'Nowhere to go' for workers at factories that supply closing GM plants

Source: John Seewer , The Associated Press

The sting from a major restructuring at General Motors and its planned closings of five North American factories in the coming months is putting thousands of jobs at auto parts suppliers at stake, as well.

February 4, 2019

Job growth in January was phenomenal. Wage growth was pathetic.

Source: Alexia Fernandez Campbell , Vox

Employers added 304,000 new jobs to the US economy in January — once again surpassing economic forecasts, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists had expected only about 180,000 new positions in January.

Discrimination Tracker, First of Its Kind, Coming to Michigan

Source: Alex Ebert , Bloomberg Law

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is pushing for the nation’s first state bias incident database to bolster investigations of LGBT, race, and sex discrimination in employment and state services.

February 1, 2019

Are Silicon Valley Giants Responsible for a Mysterious New Texas Labor Rule?

Source: Justin Miller , Texas Observer

A Texas state agency has quietly thrown itself into the middle of one of the most heated policy debates on the future of work: Are the workers who fuel the gig economy — Uber drivers, Postmate couriers, online freelancers — independent contractors or are they employees entitled to certain benefits and protections?

'That income is gone': shutdown pain lingers for unpaid contract workers

Source: Jamiles Lartey , The Guardian

Hundreds of thousands of US government contractors went back to work early this week after the end of a record 35-day government shutdown, but Tamela Worthen, who works as a security guard at the Smithsonian museum in Washington DC, wasn’t among them.

January 31, 2019

Workers accuse grocery app Instacart of misusing their tips

Source: Deedee Sun , KIRO

Workers behind Instacart, the grocery delivery company and app, say they’re getting punished for getting a tip. People who shop and deliver for the app say the higher the tip, the less wage they make – and that the company is using customers’ tips to subsidize wages.

Google Shareholders and Workers Call on Board to Fix ‘Diversity Crisis’

Source: Josh Eidelson , Bloomberg

Over the past year, employees at Alphabet Inc.’s Google have protested over worker rights, a military contract, and the handling of sexual misconduct. Now, along with shareholders, they’ve written a resolution to Alphabet’s board, calling for reform in areas including racial and gender diversity, and asking the board to consider tying these metrics to executive bonuses.

January 30, 2019

Will Trump’s Labor Board Say Workers Have No Right to Float a Balloon?

Source: Shaun Richman , The American Prospect

If Scabby the Rat winds up before the Supreme Court, how would those justices reconcile their Janus affirmation of First Amendment rights to workers’ ability to freely engage in union activity? Inflatable vermin were already a work-around for an egregious restriction of workers’ speech rights.

The lowest-paid shutdown workers aren’t getting back pay

Source: Danielle Paquette , The Washington Post

Unlike the 800,000 career public servants who are slated to receive full back pay over the next week or so, the contractors who clean, guard, cook and shoulder other jobs at federal workplaces aren’t legally guaranteed a single penny. They’re also among the lowest-paid laborers in the government economy, generally earning between $450 and $650 weekly, union leaders say.

January 29, 2019

BuzzFeed’s layoffs and the false promise of “unions aren’t for us”

Source: Cale Guthrie Weissman , Fast Company

While multiple media companies have unionized their newsrooms over the last couple years (disclosure: Fast Company, too), the BuzzFeed CEO successfully quashed any attempt at his own company.

Courts Weighing LGBT Job Bias Claims While SCOTUS Dallies

Source: Porter Wells , Bloomberg Law

Cases testing whether federal law protects workers from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation are still tying up lower courts, even as the U.S. Supreme Court tries to decide whether it wants to take on the issue.

Laid off? You may not get paid for unused time off

Source: Kate Gibson, CBS News

"We've had a number of situations recently where companies don't have a legal obligation, but calling them out has led to better results than the law ever can," said Brantner of Workplace Fairness. "Employees are bringing their plight to the attention of the public, and companies are taking that seriously."

Recent examples include Google agreeing to change its sexual harassment and arbitration policies following public protests by employees, and air traffic controllers, who Brantner credits with helping end the government shutdown. "They are not legally allowed to strike, but by slowing down operations and raising questions about safety, that had more of an impact."

January 28, 2019

What The Raise The Wage Act Could Mean For Women

Source: Erin Spencer , Forbes

Last week, Democratic leadership in Congress reintroduced the Raise the Wage Act (H. R. 582) in the House with 181 cosponsors and companion bill (S. 150) in the Senate with 31 cosponsors. This legislation, if enacted into law, would raise the federal minimum wage to $8.55 this year and increase the federal wage floor over the next five years to reach $15 per hour in 2024.

Furloughed federal workers should start getting their back pay in a few days

Source: Dylan Scott , Vox

Roughly 800,000 federal workers missed two paychecks because of the longest government shutdown in US history. But with the government finally set to reopen, they should receive the pay they missed in just a few days — if all goes according to plan.

January 25, 2019

How to Make Sure Federal Workers Won’t Go Unpaid Ever Again

Source: Jules Bernstein , The American Prospect

Just as the postal workers’ situation, which resulted from a political impasse, was resolved sensibly in 1970, the same ought to occur promptly to resolve the current shutdown, which is causing intense hardship for individuals who have no culpability whatsoever for the situation they are in.

'It was like a public execution': American retail workers face mass layoffs

Source: Michael Sainato , The Guardian

But last week, Foster and dozens of other seasonal and contracted employees at the Amazon clothing plant were laid off along with thousands of other workers at retailers across the US. Retailers have just had their best holiday season in six years but for retail workers the post-holiday come down has been brutal.

January 24, 2019

'I’m Struggling Through Every Day': Here Are Some of Your Government Shutdown Stories

Source: Paul Blest , Splinter

Last week, we asked readers to send us their accounts of how they’re dealing with the partial federal government shutdown—whether as employees of the federal government, a contractor, beneficiaries of government services, or otherwise.

Oracle Case Highlights Double Whammy Facing Tech Contractors

Source: Paige Smith , Bloomberg Law

Federal contractors that employ large numbers of foreign workers might be opening themselves up to a double whammy of Labor Department discrimination claims. Tech conglomerate Oracle America finds itself in just such a scenario. It was hit with allegations it underpaid women and minority workers and showed a preference for hiring certain visa-holders.

January 23, 2019

When The Real Threat Is Worker Surveillance -- Not The Robot Apocalypse

Source: Rakeen Mabud , Forbes

Far more deserving of scrutiny are the technological and legal practices that are exacerbating age-old problems of employer power over workers. It is these practices – electronic monitoring, just-in-time scheduling, non-compete clauses, anti-poaching agreements and forced arbitration, among others – that function as the locked factory doors of the 21st century, trapping workers in poor conditions and stripping workers of their agency.

Oracle Owes $400M to Women, Black, Asian Workers, DOL Says

Source: Chris Opfer and Paige Smith , Bloomberg Law

Oracle Corp. shorted women and minority workers $400 million in wages by paying them less than other employees, steering them into jobs at lower-level positions, and imposing an “extreme preference” for immigrant visa holders, the Labor Department said in a new legal filing.

Government workers still don’t have a salary due to the shutdown. American businesses are helping them out.

Source: Chavie Lieber , Vox

Some companies are stepping up during the national crisis, though, and offering free meals, groceries, entertainment, and cash to furloughed workers. About 800,000 workers are suffering because of the government shutdown.

Democrats introduce bill to hike federal minimum wage to $15 per hour

Source: Jacbo Pramuk , CNBC

Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday to gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, a long-shot plan that comes as the party tries to bill itself as a champion of the working class. The proposal to hike the U.S. wage floor from the current $7.25 will likely fail in the GOP-held Senate even if it gets through the Democratic-controlled House.

January 22, 2019

Forget Reagan: Four Reasons the TSA Could Stop Working Tomorrow

Source: Henry Grabar , Slate

Tuesday will mark one month in the shutdown of the U.S. government, with no end in sight. Federal workers are lining up for food in Washington. More than 400,000 government employees have worked that entire time without pay, few of them more visible than the screeners of the Transportation Security Administration.

‘How Long Will the LA Teachers Strike Last?’ May Be the Wrong Question

Source: Danny Feingold , The American Prospect

Part of why some in the media are anxiously wondering when a settlement will occur is the relative scarcity of strikes in modern American society, particularly open-ended work stoppages that affect a much larger number of people than the employees in question.

January 21, 2019

This is how getting fired is more financially devastating for women

Source: Jared Lindzon, Fast Company

“There is significant evidence that pay bias is something that can follow you throughout your career,” says Paula Brantner, a senior adviser for Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit organization that offers career resources and legal assistance. “If you’re underpaid and undervalued in your first job, then when you go to your next job, they look at what you’re making and continue to undervalue you, so as your career progresses you get further and further behind.”

Long Wait Likely for Fed Workers Suing Over Shutdown Pay

Source: Louis C. LaBrecque , Bloomberg Law

Federal workers suing the government over its failure to pay them during the shutdown shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for damage awards. That’s assuming they win. Some 25,000 federal employees who successfully challenged the government for violating federal wage law by not paying them during the 16-day shutdown in 2013 are still waiting for their money more than five years later.

Martin Luther King Jr., union man

Source: Peter Cole , Salon

If Martin Luther King Jr. still lived, he’d probably tell people to join unions. King understood racial equality was inextricably linked to economics. He asked, “What good does it do to be able to eat at a lunch counter if you can’t buy a hamburger?”

January 18, 2019

The Los Angeles teachers' strike keeps growing as the standoff 'feels like ... playing chicken'

Source: Holly Yan , CNN

The tug of war between Los Angeles teachers and their school district may be shifting toward the teachers as picket lines keep growing, the teachers' union said. "For two days in a row, we had over 50,000 people downtown saying we want educational justice in Los Angeles," United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl said Wednesday.

January 17, 2019

Opinion: Should federal workers walk off the job?

Source: Helanie Olen , The Washington Post

On Monday, Barbara Ehrenreich and Gary Stevenson called for what amounts to a wildcat strike by the nation’s Transportation Security Administration agents, while over the weekend, veteran labor reporter Bob Hennelly at Salon went even further, pondering a national general strike in support of the 800,000 federal workers currently not receiving a paycheck.

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.




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