Power Trip

BossFeed Briefing for September 10, 2018. Last Tuesday, Amazon became the second company ever to reach a $1 trillion stock market valuation. Last Wednesday, the King County Council voted 5-4 to give about $150 million in public funds to spruce up Safeco Field for John Stanton, the billionaire owner of the Mariners. Tomorrow is September 11th. And Thursday is the 47th anniversary of the end of the Attica prison riots.


Three things to know this week:


 Tesla CEO Elon Musk — currently enmeshed in multiple financial, production, and labor controversies — smoked pot live on a podcast with Joe Rogan. While this happened in California, where marijuana is legal just as it is here in Washington, that legal status hasn’t stopped the company from firing lower-ranking employees in California who test positive for THC, including at least one woman who used cannabis products outside of work for medical reasons, on her doctor’s recommendation, and had previously disclosed this to the company.


 The federal Department of Labor is holding a “listening session” on overtime protections this Tuesday in Seattle. In case you were wondering if this could be a meaningful opportunity to influence federal policy on workers rights, keep in mind the intent of the event was described on the blog of a business-side group with the words “DOL Will Listen to Employers on Upcoming Overtime Rule”. 

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 Nestle corporation is warning Australian lawmakers that rules requiring companies to report on slavery in their supply chains could cost customers money. Uh....


Two things to ask:


 Is the US healthcare system actually a work of post-apocalyptic science fiction?  Alec Raeshawn Smith died three days before his payday because he ran out of insulin and couldn’t afford the premiums for health insurance on his $35,000/year salary as a restaurant manager. Drug companies have tripled the price of insulin since 2012.

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 What are you doing Wednesday night? You're invited to join us at 6pm on September 12th for #OurTimeCounts, a live conversation about unstable and unpredictable work schedules — and what we can do about it. You can RSVP to join us live in person in Tukwila or live online on Facebook


And one thing that's worth a closer look:


 A new study of minimum wage increases in six cities — including Seattle — finds that when we pass laws to raise wages... it has the intended consequence of raising wages, without any measurable negative impact on the labor market. Ideological opponents of higher wages like business lobby groups and the University of Washington’s Jacob Vigdor have struggled for years with how to make the case that higher wages cause the sky to fall when Seattle, SeaTac & Washington state as a whole are self-evidently thriving after raising wages, and it’s always interesting to see what they come up with. This time, Vigdor claimed to the Seattle Times that despite the results of the latest study, “wages would’ve gone up anyway” regardless of any law to raise the minimum wage. Of course, that's not quite how the economy has been working for about 99% of us for the past few decades or so... and if this professor thinks wages go up “anyway” he should try talking to an adjunct or grad student about their pay trends — doesn’t even have to leave campus for his research!


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!