"I am rich"

BossFeed Briefing for April 16, 2018. Last Tuesday was Equal Pay Day, marking how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. Last Wednesday was the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act, which banned discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. Last Thursday Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced he is not running for reelection to Congress. Last Friday was the 13th, marked by an American bombing of Syria. And Federal tax returns are due tomorrow.


Three things to know this week:


 Starbucks is heartily congratulating itself for achieving “100% gender and racial pay equity” in the US. No, we don’t know what they mean either, and yes, their CEO is a dude who was paid $11.5 million last year, his first year in that position.  

face-with-open-mouth-and-cold-sweat_1f630 (2).png

New data shows that you need a full-time job paying $18.88/hour to afford a 1-bedroom apartment in Washington State. Somehow there are still people who say that $15 is too much.


The Department of Labor & Industries has begun a rulemaking process that could expand overtime protections in our state to hundreds of thousands of people who are classified as salaried but paid low wages. Some business lobby groups are claiming that underpaid front-line managers workers prefer the “status” of working for a salary to the benefit of getting overtime pay if they are made to work more than 40 hours a week.


Two things to ask:


 How did it take so long? The City of Seattle has officially passed a law eliminating sub-minimum wages for people with disabilities. Somehow this practice is currently still allowed in the rest of our state, as well as almost every other state.


 These are basically the same, no? The already-somewhat-obnoxious downtown Seattle rooftop bar Frolik has unveiled a “Millionaire’s Menu” of absurdly-priced cocktails, including a $128 margarita and a $200 martini. Ten years ago, a developer briefly sold a $999 iPhone App called “I am rich” whose only function was to display a jewel and announce that the purchaser had money.


And one thing that's worth a closer look:


 Two years ago, Microsoft issued a self-congratulatory press release announcing that they had effectively eliminated the gender pay gap, with female employees at the company getting paid 99.8 cents on the dollar compared to male employees doing similar work. But as related in the Seattle Times, the experiences of women working at the company are often quite different than that single figure might suggest. Microsoft has the lowest share of women employees among the biggest tech companies (and the percentage is actually declining), and there are widespread complaints about a cultural of casual sexism, as well as more than a dozen lawsuits. Sexism permeates workplaces everywhere and these kinds of things always have multiple causes, but many argue that the heart of the issue at Microsoft relates to a longstanding culture of aggressive confrontation, which dates to the style of founder Bill Gates in the company’s earliest days, and seems to continue today.  


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!