how low can they go

BossFeed Briefing for March 11, 2019. Last Tuesday, the founder of Papa John’s agreed to leave the company’s board after previously leaving his executive role over a series of racist comments. Last Wednesday, the CEO of Walmart said that half of his store visits make him “grumpy”. Last Friday, SpongeBob, the U.S. Army, and many other brands publicly marked International Women’s Day on social media. Wednesday is the deadline for the Worker Protection Act to pass out of the State House this year. And this Friday is the 2043rd anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar.

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Three things to know this week:


Workers at The Melting Pot in Seattle are suing the restaurant for paying subminimum wages. The owner had previously make a contribution to an effort to repeal Seattle's $15 wage law and added a petty and misleading “minimum wage surcharge” to customer bills.  


By a vote of 95 -3, the State House voted to pass our stripper safety & security bill and send it to the Senate. This may be a legislative first — the first bill in our state affecting people who work at strip clubs that was actually initiated by people who work at strip clubs.  


Amazon has recently tripled what they spend on state lobbying in Olympia. This year they made sure that most of their tech employees would be exempt from a bill that limits the use of non-compete agreements.

Two things to ask:


Is $35,000 enough to work for free?  The Trump administration announced plans to update the salary threshold for overtime exemption to a paltry $35,000/year. We're fighting for a state rule that would ensure any worker paid less than about $75,000/year gets overtime pay when they work overtime hours, no matter what their job title is.


Where was she then?  Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal played a key role advancing federal $15 minimum wage legislation through the U.S. House labor committee last week. Five years ago  — as a candidate for state legislature — she was on the front lines supporting fast food workers who went on strike for $15

And one thing that's worth a closer look:


It’s messy enough when companies pay people via black box algorithms — it eliminates transparency, it’s ripe for abuse, and it sometimes just seems kind of random. But the specter of autonomous vehicles takes it to another level, as Vox exposed in a piece exploring how the current about how the current generation of computer vision algorithms are measurably worse at detecting pedestrians who have darker skin. Researchers found the bias persisted when controlling for other variables too, though they were unable to test the specific code used by vehicle companies because that's considered proprietary information. It’s yet more evidence of how algorithms can reflect the bias of the people who create them — and can quite literally be a matter of life and death. 


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!