Hortons hears from who?

BossFeed Briefing for January 22, 2018. Last Wednesday a strong majority of Washington state representatives voted to advance the equal pay bill, though 28 somehow managed to vote no. Last Thursday, Amazon announced the 20 cities which made it to the final round in their HQ2 sweepstakes/bidding war. Last Friday the Federal government officially "shut down", and Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people joined massive Women’s Marches in communities across the country. Today is the 128th anniversary of the founding of the United Mine Workers. And Thursday there will be State House hearing on a proposal to establish a system of portable benefits for people working in the gig economy.

horton protest.jpg

Three things to know this week:


The Canadian donut chain Tim Hortons is facing a massive public backlash after some locations eliminated paid breaks in what they said was a response to a provincial minimum wage increase. This punitive approach is also facing a quieter sort of backlash from leading economic thinkers, as new research continues to show that raising wages lifts up the whole economy.


A key organizer of protests against the notorious for-profit, minimum-wage-violating Northwest Detention Center has been targeted for deportation. Maru Mora Villalpando received a notice to appear at an immigration hearing, part of what seems to be a pattern of federal immigration authorities going after prominent leaders. 


State Farm insurance is eliminating 800 jobs in Tacoma, an unanticipated move which an industry spokesperson blamed on everything from chatbots to claims costs to self-driving cars. The company has a net worth of $87 billion. 



Two things to ask:


 What if your garbage is just garbage now? Used clothing donated by people in rich countries has long been shipping to less-rich countries for resale or recycling. While global inequities certainly persist, it has recently become so cheap to manufacture new garments that the market for used clothes is falling apart at the same time as supply has increased dramatically.

scales_2696 (1).png

 Are small businesses overrated? An analysis of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages find that workers’ average weekly wage tends to vary with the size of the employer — and on average, larger employers pay substantially more. Some workers' rights laws also exclude people who are employed by smaller employers. 


And one thing that's worth a closer look:


Wages in the US have lagged behind productivity and corporate profits for years, and while there are multiple factors involved, it has a lot to do with the overall balance of power between workers and corporations. One way this plays out is explored in a Slate piece reviewing new research that finds that a lack of employers is holding down wages. By analyzing job postings on careerbuilder.com, they find there are often only few companies hiring in a particular field in a particular area, and that wages tend to fall as the number of employers hiring in a given field is reduced. Giant consolidated corporations, it seems, can be bad news in yet another way than has been understood.


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!