Keep it moving

BossFeed Briefing for November 27, 2017. Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, which was followed by Black Friday. Today is Cyber Monday, tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and the next few days are just a string of holiday season weekdays still in need of branding. Tomorrow, Jenny Durkan will be sworn in as mayor of Seattle and Teresa Mosqueda will be sworn in as a Seattle city councilmember. And Friday is the anniversary of Rosa Parks being jailed for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, an act of civil disobedience which sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


Three things to know this week:

The Spokane City Council is set to vote on a fair chance hiring ordinance, which would bar prospective employers in that city from categorically refusing to consider a job applicant based only on whether they have ever been convicted of a crime. The proposed ordinance would “ban the box,” and require a job interview before an applicant is asked about any criminal history.


 The agricultural industry in Washington is struggling with a shortage of workers due to changes in federal immigration policy, a strengthening economy in Mexico, and other factors. Employers complain about the difficulty of finding enough people to work the harvest, but resist raising wages or improving housing conditions.


Retail sales across Washington are up about 5% after the statewide minimum wage rose by more than $1.50/hour in January. When more people have more money, it means more customers for more businesses. 


Two things to ask:


 Does that catchphrase apply to executive pay too? Nordstrom is reportedly experimenting with a philosophy that “smaller is better,” opening a showroom-style boutique which offers personal shopping assistance, manicures, rosé, and the ability to shop online at other Nordstrom stores. The new location has little in stock other than “the occasional set of bejeweled boots exhibited on a shelf.”


When does it end? Local governments desperate to win the bidding for Amazon’s second headquarters have made some astonishing offers, including a proposal by Chicago to turn all income tax paid by employees back over to the company; a proposal by Fresno to give corporate officials direct control over a substantial portion of the city budget; and other creative giveaways. In the years since Washington State handed Boeing an $87 billion tax break, the company has cut 20,000 jobs in the Puget Sound area.


And one thing that's worth a closer look:


The richest 1% of people in the United States took in about 20% of the total income in the country, the most extremely unequal income distribution among all developed countries, according to stats from the OECD. As the New York Times explores (and charts), it isn’t like this everywhere: the rich take a much smaller share of total income in most other countries, including Denmark, Japan, Britain, and China. And it hasn’t always been like this: back in 1980, the top 1% in the US took a relatively smaller 11% of total national income. While numerous explanations have been theorized in recent years, one researcher suggests that the fundamental factor driving American inequality is increasingly high pay rates for "elite professionals" in financial services, health care, corporate law, and real estate — all industries which have built substantial political influence as well.


Read this far?


 Consider yourself briefed, boss.

Let us know what you think about this week's look at the world of work, wages, and inequality!

Let us know what you think about this week's look at the world of work, wages, and inequality!