Life & death

BossFeed Briefing for April 24, 2017. The State Legislature completed its regular session Sunday without passing paid family leave or agreeing on a budget. They return for a special session beginning today. Friday is Workers Memorial Day, which honors the thousands of workers who die on the job each year. May Day is one week away.


Three things to know this week:

A new contract negotiated by the Ironworkers Union will provide members six months of paid maternity leave. It costs about $32,000 to train a new ironworker through a multi-year apprenticeship. 

A commercial geoduck diver died on the job last week, about 100 yards from the shoreline in Pierce County. More than 50 people die at work each year in Washington State. 

Ice cream entrepreneur Molly Moon is launching a record label for store employees who are also musicians. The label, called Mooncrew, will help employees record and promote their music, and also sell vinyl in the company’s stores.


Two things to ask:

How did we let this happen? New data developed by economist Thomas Piketty shows that US adults in the bottom half of the income distribution have seen effectively zero income growth for more than a generation. It didn't have to be this way: in France, incomes for the bottom half have continued to rise, despite facing the same global economic pressures.

What if paying a living wage wasn’t just an option at checkout? The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission may force Uber to give customers the option to tip their drivers. Access to tips was demanded by a drivers group, which estimates it could increase drivers' income by $300 million.


And one thing that’s worth a closer look:


 Employers control our day-to-day lives to a far greater extent than government does, argues Miya Tokumitsu in a survey of several new books on work and the economy for the New Republic. US courts have recognized employers’ power to dictate workers appearance, relationships, speech on and off the job, use of alcohol, and more — with the loss of livelihood as the ultimate punishment. If government reserved these powers, Tokumitsu points out, it would be seen as oppressive & impermissible... and yet we've let them be privatized with little public debate.


Read this far?

 Consider yourself briefed, boss.