BossFeed Briefing for August 27, 2018. Last Monday was the 152nd anniversary of the first time a worker organization in the US demanded an 8-hour day. Last Tuesday, a group of people in Spokane proposed on Facebook to blow wildfire smoke back to Canada through a mass deployment of fans. Today marks one week until Labor Day, which still remains a holiday despite all the other federal attacks on working people. And Wednesday is the 13th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast.
Three things to know this week:
After a wave of criticism of working conditions at its distribution centers, Amazon has deployed prepackaged twitter accounts for workers serving as “Ambassadors” who share the good news that they are very happy and everything is fine. The human beings operating the relentlessly positive accounts are apparently not paid a higher rate for their PR work.
Incarcerated people are on strike in prisons across the country, issuing demands that include getting paid the minimum wage for their work. The wage paid to a prisoner in the US is less than $1/hour.
The lobby group for big retail chains in Seattle is boycotting the city’s study of secure scheduling. Apparently they don’t like the idea of research on how their employees' lives change for the better when they know when they’re going to work and how many hours they’re going to get.
Two things to ask:
Maybe those standards aren’t high enough? After three dairy workers died on the job over the past three years, Darigold paid for an audit of safety practices and then issued a corporate social responsibility report which found “no child labor, slave labor, or minimum wage violation issues.” The dairy industry has successfully opposed efforts to pass legislation which would tighten safety standards.
So what are you supposed to do? Public authorities across the state have been recommending people stay inside and avoid driving because of hazardous air quality. But those official declarations don’t do much for the hundreds of thousands of people in our state who work in agriculture, construction, delivery and other jobs that happen outdoors or in cars... and who are sometimes left to choose between risking a day’s wages or risking their health.
And one thing that's worth a closer look:
As controversy continues to swirl around King County’s plan to take $184 million or so in public dollars that could go to affordable housing and spend it on sprucing up Safeco Field, Katie Wilson of the Transit Riders Union writes in Crosscut about the man who owns the team — John Stanton. A literal billionaire with stable housing in Medina, Stanton is a major political player, mostly supporting Republicans. He gets involved in issues too, including making a $75,000 investment in the initiative campaign to defeat an income tax on the wealthy, and has made large contributions to other local politicians, including King County Executive Dow Constantine. As Wilson explains, it all makes the looming decision on whether to spend tax dollars on the Mariners all the more stark: will King County choose to invest public dollars in a billionaire who may very well invest in them, or in addressing our housing emergency?
Read this far?
Consider yourself briefed, boss.