Flight or fight

BossFeed Briefing for January 8, 2018. Last Monday, a group of leading Hollywood women announced the Times Up campaign to confront sexual harassment & inequality, including a legal defense fund for women facing assault, harassment, or abuse in the workplace. Last Tuesday, a report from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index found that the 160 wealthiest Americans now control $2 trillion in wealth, up $312 billion from last year. Yesterday was the 127th anniversary of the birth of Zora Neale Hurston, one of the most remarkable writers to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance. Today the Washington State Legislature convenes for a 60-day legislative session. Next Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

  Above: Starlings in flight take form of larger bird, like a real-life organize fish.

Above: Starlings in flight take form of larger bird, like a real-life organize fish.

Three things to know this week:

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Hourly workers in Washington State now get paid sick days, effective January 1st. Paid sick time was part of Initiative 1433, which also raised the statewide minimum wage to $11.50/hour this year (on the way to $13.50), with higher rates in Seattle, Tacoma, and SeaTac.

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Alaska Airlines recently announced Trump tax bonuses of $1,000 per employee. The same company spent three years trying to block SeaTac’s $15 living wage law in court, as NPR noted that we noted in a tweet they described as sarcastic but we'd say was simply accurate.

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Arena Sports in Mill Creek is adding a 3% “living wage surcharge” to soccer league registration costsone of oddest of the misleading wage surcharges we've heard of. They apparently began the practice sometime between November 2017 and January 2018, a period during which the minimum wage effective in Mill Creek rose by 50 cents.

 

Two things to ask:

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Do you remember? Washington’s attorney general is suing Motel 6 over their apparently nationwide practice of turning over guest lists to federal immigration authorities without their consent and without any cause anyone can fathom. When this was initially exposed in Arizona back in September, the company tried to blame it on local front-line staff... and BossFeed took a closer look at the absurd claim.

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Can you imagine? A powerful German union is pushing for a 28-hour workweek in national negotiations this year, and threatening to back up the demand with large-scale strikes. Economic output per worker in Germany ranks among the highest in the world.

 

And one thing that's worth a closer look:

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As Jared Bernstein of the Economic Policy Institute notes in his analysis of the December jobs report, the nine-year-long economic expansion has pushed the African-American unemployment rate down to 6.8% — the lowest on record. The gap between the unemployment rate for white workers and for African-American workers is also the lowest on record, another piece of good news in the fight against inequality. But here’s the catch: African-American workers remain almost twice as likely as white workers to be left unemployed. When this is the best news on this front ever recorded, you know the issues are deep, systemic, and deserve far more attention from policymakers.

 

Read this far?

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 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!