power play

BossFeed Briefing for March 25, 2019. Last Monday it was announced that pioneering minimum wage labor economist Alan Krueger had died. Last Tuesday was the 16th anniversary of the start of the US war in Iraq. Last Wednesday Bill Gates of Medina, Washington became the second centi-billionaire in the world, joining Jeff Bezos of Medina, Washington in that elite status. Last Thursday Facebook admitted it had been storing user passwords in plaintext and leaving them visible to a couple hundred thousand people. And today our safety & security bill for dancers at strip clubs is heard in the Senate Labor Committee.


Three things to know this week:


A bill moving through the State Legislature would require employers to provide working mothers protected breaks to pump breastmilk. The state bill expands existing federal protections to a greater number of workers in our state.


The latest Trump budget proposal would cut disability benefits while also adding money for a project allowing authorities to monitor the social media accounts of people receiving disability benefits. There is no provision to monitor the spending habits of companies which receive corporate tax breaks.

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The descendant of a slave pictured in a 1850 photo owned by Harvard University is suing the multi-billion-dollar institution for "wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation" of the image. Tamara Lanier charges that the university has no right to profit from the photo when its subject — her relative — could not possibly have freely consented to waive rights.

Two things to ask:


Is that what "appropriation" means? Several senior employees of Kickstarter wrote an anti-union memo which lays out the remarkable concern that if "more privileged" workers form a union it could amount to a "misappropriation of unions for use by privileged workers." They did add that a union can be a great tool for "marginalized workers."


Is that what "they" means? The way DoorDash takes tips from workers has been almost universally condemned, so it was quite surprising to see a Twitter user defending the company by writing that "the way they changed their pay" was more fair. Turns out that the user of the third-person pronoun is a high-ranking executive at DoorDash.

And one thing that's worth a closer look:

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After Aimee Stephens told her boss she was trans and intended to soon "return to work as my true self" and offered her therapist’s business card in case he had any questions, her boss simply said "I’ll get back to you". A couple of weeks later he fired her, and told her it was because she was trans. The case now heads to the Supreme Court, where her employer, a Michigan funeral home, is arguing that discrimination against trans people is perfectly legal under federal law in part because the existence of a trans employee would "disrupt the healing process of grieving families." Fewer than half of states currently bar employment discrimination against trans people, but Washington State is among those jurisdictions which has established this basic legal protection.


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!