BossFeed Briefing for July 10, 2017. Last Tuesday was the Fourth of July, a less-than-efficient day of the week for one of the few Federal Holidays which isn't always observed on the nearest Monday. Last Wednesday, Washington’s landmark new paid family leave bill was signed into law. Today is International Town Criers Day, honoring a profession which has been on the decline for some time now. And ballots for Washington's 2017 primary elections go out in the mail this week, ahead of the August 1st election day.
Three things to know this week:
Governor Inslee has vetoed a proposal which would have required the state to make rules to create a subminimum wage for teenage workers. The Governor’s official veto message [PDF] pointed out that past efforts at “suppressing wages” for younger workers are counterproductive and have repeatedly failed to pass into law.
Oregon passed the nation’s first statewide scheduling law, including provisions requiring advance notice and ensuring a right to rest between shifts. A similar proposal has also been introduced in Chicago.
It’s not just Seattle: new restaurants and retailers are opening in Yakima too, less than year after the statewide minimum wage increase began to take effect. When campaigning against the higher minimum wage, some Yakima restaurant owners tried to insist that better pay would mean fewer restaurants, apparently unaware that workers are customers too.
Two things to ask:
Didn't they used to say they liked local control? Right-wing state lawmakers have been pushing to pre-empt the power of local jurisdictions to pass laws that affect labor standards, civil rights, and even plastic bags. The effort comes after cities from Seattle to Austin to Charlotte have led the way forward on numerous issues by taking action when state governments have been unwilling to do so.
What are they going to threaten us with now? Every time there’s a debate about raising wages or other standards in Washington State, opponents always suggest that businesses will just flee across the border to Idaho. But that state’s own Department of Labor sees the opposite: higher wages in Washington are pushing wages up in Idaho, too.
And one thing that’s worth a closer look:
While media is full of gee-whiz reporting on a future of artificial intelligence & drones & driverless cars, more sober analysis shows that low-wage caregiving jobs are some of the fastest-growing occupations in our economy. There’s an important and fairly obvious gender dynamic here — in fact, some research suggests that that jobs which involve caregiving and other “women’s work” are both noticed less and paid less than other jobs because of the interactions between and sexism and the emotional component of the work. Other dynamics are less well-known: 25% of direct care workers are African American women, the job has among the highest injury rates of any occupation (ranking just behind firefighters and corrections officers), there's some debate about whether caregivers can be replaced with robots, and so much more that you can glean from this unusually informative Vox explainer.
Read this far?
Consider yourself briefed, boss.
The BossFeed Briefing is our weekly look at the world of work, wages, and inequality.