Not a real person

BossFeed Briefing for April 3, 2017. The Washington State House introduced a budget proposal last Monday which included start-up funding for paid family leave. In Washington, DC, a Senate committee voted on Thursday to advance the nomination of Alexander Acosta to be the next Secretary of Labor. And tomorrow marks the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  PHOTO: Tom Morgan / Mary Evans Picture Library, via Smithsonian Magazine

PHOTO: Tom Morgan / Mary Evans Picture Library, via Smithsonian Magazine

Three things to know this week:

The two richest people in the world both live in Washington State. After some recent financial transactions, Jeff Bezos of Amazon moved up to number two with $75.6 billion, passing Warren Buffett but about $10 billion short of Bill Gates.

Ads are running in several key states highlighting the notorious “Frozen Trucker” opinion issued by Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. In that case, which has no relationship to the Disney movie, Gorsuch held that a trucking company had the right to fire a driver who left an unsafe trailer in order to find warmth and avoid hypothermia after several hours in subzero temperatures. 

Portable benefits continue to make progress. A work session was held last Monday in the Washington State legislature on a bill which would establish a statewide system of portable benefits for contracted workers. A bill which would establish portable benefits is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate as well. 


Two things to ask:

Would more income mean less poverty? That’s one of the hypotheses researchers hope to explore in an upcoming pilot project to provide a Universal Basic Income in a few communities in Ontario, Canada. Somehow it’s not considered a rhetorical question.

Did anyone ask if she was crossing her fingers? During her election campaign, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh promised that she would sign a $15 minimum wage into law. When she then vetoed the $15 bill which came before her, she explained that she hadn’t sworn on the Bible when making the promise.


And one thing that’s worth a closer look:

While “Luddite” has come to mean “technophobe,” the first Luddites were in fact skilled machine operators, and their real life history of organizing, protest, and smashing-stuff-up is quite a bit more complex than you might think. It turns out that the their namesake Ned Ludd was not a real person; that tensions between work, skill, technology, and automation go back at least a few hundred years; and that history may be a better tool to understand the future of work than science fiction or venture capital.


Read this far?

Consider yourself briefed, boss.

Support the BossFeed Briefing — Donate to Working Washington

The BossFeed Briefing is our look at the world of work, wages, and inequality.