Tag: Labor

Colorado Farm Worker Legislation

Among its biggest changes, the bill would:

  • Require farms to pay workers the state minimum wage of $12.32 an hour, and not just the federal wage of $7.25
  • Allow agriculture employees to join unions
  • Require overtime pay for agriculture workers
  • Require meal breaks and rest periods
  • Limit the use of short-handled tools, except for organic operations and in some other specific cases

“No workers are any more or less unique, no less human, no less deserving of these basic rights,” said Rep. Karen McCormick, a Democratic sponsor who chairs the House Agriculture Committee. Other sponsors included Rep. Yadira Caraveo and Sens. Dominick Moreno and Jessie Danielson.

Advocates described workers enduring long shifts without water or restrooms and suffering lasting injuries from the use of short-handled tools — all made worse because workers are afraid to speak up.

“Farmworkers were intentionally excluded from the laws that provide basic worker protections in order to preserve a system built on the racially motivated exploitation of farmworkers and domestic servants for their cheap labor,” said Jennifer Rodriguez of Colorado Legal Services, at an earlier committee hearing.

After Months Of Debate, Agriculture Workers Are Set To Gain New Rights In Colorado
Andrew Kenney
June 7, 2021
Colorado Public Radio

McDonald’s Strike – May 19, 2021

Striking workers around the country, who are part of the Fight For $15 movement, say McDonald’s has an easy solution to this labor shortage: it can simply raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour at all of their stores. The company’s sales are booming, thanks to demand for faster drive-thru orders. McDonald’s recently announced that it earned $5 billion in profits in 2020, and paid shareholders nearly $4 billion in dividends.

“We know McDonald’s is gathering for its shareholders meeting to discuss what straws we use, what bags we use, how much we get paid,” Terrence Wise, a McDonald’s department manager in Kansas City, Missouri, who has worked in the fast food industry for 22 years told Motherboard.

“The one thing that’s missing is our voice” he continued. “We made them that $5 billion in profit last year. There wouldn’t be shares to divide if we weren’t making burgers and McFlurries. Our message to shareholders on May 19 is you don’t have to wait on legislation. You can pay us $15 an hour now, that should be the floor.”

McDonald’s Workers Will Strike for $15 an Hour in 15 Cities
Striking cashiers and cooks say there’s an easy solution to McDonald’s labor shortage: a $15 minimum wage.
Lauren Kaori Gurley
Vice

Home Health Care Workers – The Difference a Union Makes

Their work days are largely similar. Both mother and daughter rise early and make a lengthy commute — up to one hour by car for Danielle and up to two hours by bus for Brittany. They make their clients’ meals. They shop for groceries and clothes, pick up medicine, run to the post office. They care for pets. They dress and undress, change diapers and give baths. They assist with medication. They dust, vacuum and do the laundry. They talk and listen to the stories of their clients’ lives, often for hours.

But the similarities end there. Brittany makes nearly $20 an hour, usually working five days a week. But without child care for her 8-year-old son during the pandemic, she’s been working no more than four. She has paid time off, medical and dental insurance, a retirement plan and many other benefits. Danielle works seven days a week making half Brittany’s wage. She has no benefits through her job, qualifies for Medicaid and is barely able to survive.

These differences come down to where Brittany and Danielle live. Brittany lives in Washington State and belongs to a union of long-term-care workers, S.E.I.U. Local 775, that has worked with the state for better pay and working conditions. Danielle lives in Arkansas, where she has none of that.

Mother and Daughter Do the Same Job. Why Does One Make $9 More an Hour?
By Brigid Schulte and Cassandra Robertson
Ms. Schulte is the director of the Better Life Lab at New America, a progressive think tank, and the author of “Overwhelmed.” Dr. Robertson is a senior policy and research manager at New America.
NYTIMES

Google Worker Disillusioned

I used to be a Google engineer. That often feels like the defining fact about my life. When I joined the company after college in 2015, it was at the start of a multiyear reign atop Forbes’s list of best workplaces.

I bought into the Google dream completely. In high school, I spent time homeless and in foster care, and was often ostracized for being nerdy. I longed for the prestige of a blue-chip job, the security it would bring and a collegial environment where I would work alongside people as driven as I was.

After Working at Google, I’ll Never Let Myself Love a Job Again
I learned the hard way that no publicly traded company is a family.
Emi Nietfeld
Ms. Nietfeld is a software engineer. She worked at Google from 2015 to 2019.
NYTIMES

The comments section for this article is especially interesting.

Living on Low Wages

Joyce Barnes sometimes pauses, leaving the grocery store. A crowd shifts past, loaded up with goodies. Barnes pictures herself, walking out with big steaks and pork chops, some crabmeat.

“But I’m not the one,” she says. Inside her bags are bread, butter, coffee, a bit of meat and canned tuna — a weekly grocery budget of $25.

The shopping has to fit between her two jobs. Barnes, 62, is a home care worker near Richmond, Va. In the mornings, she takes care of a man who lost both his legs, then hustles off to help someone who’s lost use of one side of his body in a stroke. The jobs pay $9.87 and $8.50 an hour. Barnes gets home around 9 p.m., then wakes at 5 a.m. to do it all over again.

She Works 2 Jobs. Her Grocery Budget Is $25. This Is Life Near Minimum Wage
Alina Selyukh
All Things Considered

Amazon Unionization, Bessemer Alabama

In making the case against a union at its warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., Amazon has touted its compensation package. The company notes that base pay at the facility, around $15.50 an hour for most rank-and-file workers, is more than twice the local minimum wage, and that it offers comprehensive health insurance and retirement benefits.

But to many of Amazon’s Bessemer employees, who are voting this month on whether to unionize, the claims to generosity can ring hollow alongside the demands of the job and local wage rates. The most recent figure for the median wage in greater Birmingham, a metropolitan area of roughly one million people that includes Bessemer, was nearly $3 above Amazon’s pay there, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Amazon Says It Pays Alabama Workers Well; Other Local Employers Pay More
Recent organizing campaigns in the South suggest the company’s wage scale may have left it vulnerable to a union.
Noam Scheiber
NYTIMES

Amazon Unionization Vote in Alabama

The retail workers union has a long history of organizing Black workers in the poultry and food production industries, helping them gain basic benefits like paid time off and safety protections and a means to economic security. The union is portraying its efforts in Bessemer as part of that legacy.

“This is an organizing campaign in the right-to-work South during the pandemic at one of the largest companies in the world,” said Benjamin Sachs, a professor of labor and industry at Harvard Law School. “The significance of a union victory there really couldn’t be overstated.”

The warehouse workers began voting by mail on Feb. 8 and the ballots are due at the end of this month. A union can form if a majority of the votes cast favor such a move.

Amazon Workers’ Union Drive Reaches Far Beyond Alabama
A vote on whether to form a union at the e-commerce giant’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., has become a labor showdown, drawing the attention of N.F.L. players, and the White House.
Michael Corkery and Karen Weise
NYTIMES