The US Labor Department is pushing controversial new rules which would allow management to pocket money from tip pools. When an official economic impact analysis found workers would lose billions of dollars of tips if the rules were implemented, senior department officials chose to block the publication of the analysis and go forward with the proposal.
Does this look legal to you? A multinational tech company called Pactera is advertising an entry-level data analyst job in Redmond… with an ad that says candidates have to be “born and brought up in the USA.” Working Washington members are applying for the job on Indeed.com with cover letters explaining what they think about this kind of discrimination.
Debtors prisons were abolished in the US in the 19th century, and yet increasing numbers of people are in fact getting locked up for owing money, as detailed in a disturbing report by Rebecca Burns in The Intercept. The way it works is that after people are issued civil judgments for unpaid debt, they can be issued a warrant for their arrest if they fail to show up for the judgment — and then held if they can’t make the bail. The result: being poor leaves you in debt, your debt gets you in prison, and doing time expands your debt. It sure sounds like we’re living in a Charles Dickens reboot that ought to be canceled.
The US House of Representatives voted to roll back antidiscrimination protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act, advancing a bill which would require that businesses be provided 60 days notice of accessibility violations and then be given 60 days to remedy the situation before a lawsuit can be filed. No other civil rights laws require similar waiting periods until they can be enforced in court.
A Whatcom County blueberry farm treats workers so poorly that conditions amount to forced labor, a new lawsuit claims. There was a strike at the farm last year after a worker died when he wasn’t allowed to see a doctor, but the company describes their own operations as “exemplary.”
The chief counsel of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Seattle pled guilty to charges that he used department databases to steal the identities of immigrants, obtained almost two hundred thousand dollars through fraud, and even claimed three of his identify theft victims as dependents on his taxes. A colleague in the Seattle ICE office had previously been found guilty of forging evidence in deportation cases.
Why? During an investigation of a major chemical company for illegally exposing workers to a harmful pesticide, the company was caught doing it again. They were facing a fine of nearly $5 million for their violations, but under new leadership at the EPA, the penalties have now been reduced to $150,000.
Misleading minimum wage surcharges could soon be a thing of the past. We sent a formal request to the state Department of Labor & Industries asking them to make rules that would bar surcharges that pose as taxes or claim to go towards wages.
In the latest example of how expensive it is to be poor, Bank of America announced they are going to start charging $12/month for their most basic checking account. While the fee can be waived if you keep a $1,500 minimum balance, about half of Americans don’t have even $400 saved for an emergency. In a curious twist explained by The Atlantic, it turns out the move from free checking at all the big banks is partly happening because of pushback against the practice of assessing punitive fees for bouncing checks, as collecting those fees from people who with low account balances had been a multi-billion-dollar revenue stream for big banks. You can take that as example of one of those legendary “unintended consequences” of regulations… or you can get real and call it what it is: yet more evidence that trillion-dollar financial conglomerates will do whatever they we let them get away with.
More than a million homes in the United States are currently vacant. Three quarters of those vacant homes are owned by investors.
State Farm insurance is eliminating 800 jobs in Tacoma, an unanticipated move which an industry spokesperson blamed on everything from chatbots to claims costs to self-driving cars. The company has a net worth of $87 billion
In an economic system where most jobs are bad, every extra hour of work can have a negative impact on our lives — and even our health. As Peter Fleming explores in The Guardian, there’s a growing body of research showing that time spent at work has a health impact similar to smoking — and that if you work more than 39 hours a week, it could kill you. While dominant US culture relentlessly celebrates hard work, it turns out that most of us are productive for only about four hours a day, whiling away the rest of our time on the clock by pretending to be busy and worrying about what’s ahead. The science suggests there are two approaches here, both desperately necessary: first, to make work more rewarding & better compensated, and second, for all of us to do less of it.
BossFeed Briefing 2018