So sue me

BossFeed Briefing for February 12, 2018. Last Monday, a longtime New York City livery driver killed himself in front of City Hall, leaving a suicide note which detailed the growing difficulty of making a living in his line of work. Last Wednesday, a powerful German industrial union won the right to a 28-hour workweek. Today is the 50th anniversary of the first day of the Memphis sanitation workers' strike, where the iconic “I AM A MAN” picket signs were first seen. And Wednesday is Valentine’s Day, in honor of which huge numbers of cut flowers are flown in from South America.


Three things to know this week:


A new study looked at the economic impact of 137 different minimum wage increases across the country and found that higher wages do not cause any job losses of any kind. This confirms the sense of everybody who lives in Seattle, works in Seattle, or has traveled through the city in the past several years: higher wages and economic growth go together. 

Washington state’s sick time law took effect on January 1st, which means about 1 million people should now be seeing paid sick time accrue on their pay stubs for the first time. We put together a sick time check-up where you can answer a few quick questions to make sure your employer is fulfilling their obligations and you’re getting the rights you deserve

The city of Stockton, California is conducting one of the first municipal experiments with basic income in the United States. The city will provide $500/month in unrestricted income to 100 residents, and then measure the results over 12 - 18 months. 


Two things to ask:


Surely, they can’t be serious? The industry lobby group for Alaska Airlines & friends filed suit against the state of Washington, arguing that our sick days law shouldn’t apply to them because it’s too much of a burden to keep track of 6.5 days a year. Working Washington responded in the local news, national news, and on TV.   


What will the Senate do? The Washington State House has followed the example of Spokane, Seattle, and many other jurisdictions across the country by voting to “ban the box.” The fair chance employment act, which would stop employers from preemptively rejecting applicants based solely on a criminal record, now heads to the State Senate. 


And one thing that's worth a closer look:

Regardless of your take on Elon Musk’s various enterprises, it’s quite obvious that a successful rocket launch requires the technical expertise and other contributions of thousands of people. And yet Musk is a primary example of something that happens quite often in popular writing, where the achievements of successful companies are attributed to the singular genius of a founding CEO. Evaporating the work of the people who do the work has political consequences, and a different way of writing about rich people and their hobbies can have a radically different impact, as explored in Donald Borenstein's pointed Style Guide for Writing About the Rich. Take a closer look at Borenstein's piece to explore what it means when so many writers spend so much time and effort going out of their way to praise the rich — and what it might look like if journalists treated the ultra-wealthy with a different attitude.


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!