The week in work: This week: Uber drivers, truckers, a staff meeting, a turkey, a rabbit, and a Russian cat.
Drive a hard bargain
On Monday, Seattle became the first place in the country to ensure that the people who drive for Uber, Lyft, for-hire, and taxi companies have a way to bargain collectively over their wages and working conditions. City Council voted 8-0 to pass new driver right-to-organize legislation which was initially described by the Washington Post as “a little bit crazy”.
But it may be even harder to illustrate the Uber economy than to regulate it, because media outlets reporting on the Seattle law from all corners of the internet mostly featured either that image of an Uber “U” in a car windshield, or that one with an Uber app being held over a taxi lane. Heads up to Getty Images: it’s time to start bulking up your collection, because workers winning in the sharing economy could be the next big thing.
Truck that noise
Apparently there aren’t enough people out there willing to work for the wages paid in the trucking industry, so drivers are jumping from job to job in search of better conditions, and some companies are even raising wages somewhat. You can call that a shortage of truckers if you want, but as one driver explained, actually it’s a shortage of pay compared to the demands of the job.
As per usual in this kind of business news story, when corporations try to maximize their incomes, it’s treated like the expression of a natural law. But when workers try to maximize their incomes, it’s either a moral crisis or a structural failure. Amazing just how suspicious the business class gets about market forces in the occasional moments when they tilt in the direction of workers.
Turns out there is such thing as a productive corporate retreat!
It may be the most effective staff meeting ever. When employees of a major DC PR firm came together for a company-wide retreat, one woman raised a complaint about the way the founder, principal, and namesake of the company — boss of everyone there — interacted with her as she was trying to get hired.
That motivated numerous other women who worked at FitzGibbon Media to come forward about their own experiences of harassment and assault, and in short order managers came together and published an open letter, resigned en masse, and forced the company to close its doors.
Not even Grumpy Cat gets numbers like that
An unnamed pack of aggressive turkeys has been accused of regularly attacking an unnamed Massachusetts postal worker… via video evidence submitted by the postal worker himself, but which was likely filmed by a third party. While the turkeys squawk repeatedly, the only human words spoken in the video are a plaintive “every day”.
A pet rabbit from Cornwall, England earned the name Thugs Bunny with violent attacks and vicious bites that sent one woman to the hospital, and has apparently now developed a taste for blood. He is currently receiving psychiatric care at a local veterinary facility, whose director hopes that the story encourages others to seek help for aggressive rabbits they may share a home with.
And a cat named Barsik is running well ahead of the human candidates in the race for mayor of the Siberian town of Barnaul, winning 91.2% support in an online poll against six opponents. The cat has reportedly become “part of the political establishment of the region”.