The week in work: Snakes, city council candidates, and retail workers rising up in unexpected places.
Club Wet Seal:
Wet Seal workers went wild on the internet after the mall retailer closed down two-thirds of its stores with almost no notice to workers, and absolutely no severance pay. By contrast, the CFO of the mall-based teen fashion retailer just got a $95,000 raise, and when their previous CEO left, he got $800,000 in severance. Northgate was the site of the most prominent of the brutally honest signs which workers & managers posted in store windows across the country. Buzzfeed got a hold of the official layoff script.
4 jobs, no bedrooms:
New York magazine follows a day in the life of a family of six in Houston, hour by hour. Four of them work in fast food — they are leaders in the fight for $15 — and all six of them live together in a studio apartment. The writing is thick with quietly excruciating detail.
Running on emptiness:
Self-described liberal Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat announced with even more self-indulgence than usual that he received a couple emails asking him to run against Kshama Sawant for City Council… but he isn’t. Some Sawant supporters suggested she might run citywide and not in her district… but she’s not. And currently unemployed former Equal Rights Washington leader Rod Hearne declared he is running against Sawant… but doesn’t really have a platform yet and certainly “doesn’t have a cash flow problem”.
42% of workers in the US say they did not take a single vacation day last year. Paid time off is increasingly squeezed from both ends of the income distribution — low-wage, part-time, and contingent workers frequently don’t get any vacation days in the first place, while higher-wage types complain about how hard it is to unplug from their jobs. Meanwhile, most other countries require a certain minimum number of vacation days as a universal standard for all workers.
In other news, a shedding underweight five-foot-long snake emerged from a San Diego PR firm’s office toilet, then bit an animal control officer; workers in Paraguay are fighting wage theft by crucifying themselves; and former Starbucks executive Howard Behar told a Washington Policy Center forum that if you work in a low-wage job, “there is something wrong with you”.