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BossFeed Briefing for January 7, 2019. Last Tuesday was the first day of the $12/hour minimum wage in Washington State, and also the 215th anniversary of the Haitian revolution. Last Wednesday the city of Seattle announced the hiring of a retired general to do some transportation coordination for $195,000/year. Today marks the 17th day of the federal government shutdown. This Friday is the beginning of the Seattle Squeeze, a three-week period of extreme traffic constriction to be followed by a five-year period of severe traffic constriction. And in exactly one week, the 2019 State Legislative session begins.


Three things to know this week:


Public agencies have been encouraging people in the Seattle area to telecommute to avoid tough traffic conditions over the next few weeks… but not everyone works in an office. We have issued recommendations for what employers can do to accommodate the several hundred thousand people in the region who have to show up at a particular workplace in order to do their jobs.


Patients are routinely denied organ transplants if they fail a financial screening. Surgery can cost about $1 million, required anti-rejection medication runs about $2,500/month, and GoFundMe has become a key piece of the healthcare finance system.

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Google shifted more than $20 billion in European profits through a Dutch shell company into a Bermuda outfit called Google Ireland Holdings in order to pad their profits by avoiding their taxes. The company’s slogan is “don’t be evil”.  


Two things to ask:


 What’s My Wage? We’ve updated our online tool that helps workers navigate Washington State minimum wage laws to reflect the new statewide minimum of $12/hour, as well as higher rates in Seattle, Tacoma, and SeaTac. There are lots of places to spend that money too: 362 new restaurants opened in the Seattle area in the last year. 

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 What’s Their Wage? The executives who looted Sears and Kmart and led the companies into bankruptcy recently awarded themselves $25 million in bonuses. Meanwhile, thousands of laid-off employees had their promised severance pay cut in half.


And one thing that's worth a closer look:


Being “the cable guy” has, thanks to that Jim Carrey movie, become the butt of jokes — but this lyrical account by former cable tech Lauren Hough is both a valuable corrective, and a compelling reflection on work, period. This isn't a celebrity investigation or a TED Talk, so there’s no real glamour or key take-away fable; instead it's like a travel guide to all kinds of human experience you experience on the job, from the ongoing search for a safe, clean place to pee, to seeing a slice of the secret lives and basements of hundreds of people, to the occasional surprise bits of nudity. Dick Cheney makes an appearance as well, but the real power is in the quiet observations about things like how most any customer who worked with a manual job asked if she needed water — but almost nobody else did. And then there’s the reflection on the opioid epidemic, as well as the description of particular type of fear that comes when you feel safe in someone else’s home… and so much more that makes this piece worth a closer look by anyone who's interested in the world of work.


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!