There is an uptick in the rate of coronavirus vaccinations. We are nowhere near the rate in April, when 2 million Americans were getting jabbed each day, but the seven-day average is now over 662,000 per day. Regardless of the reasons that are driving the increase, more vaccinations represent progress. Currently, 58 percent of Americans age 12 and up are fully vaccinated.
The National Employment Law Project has analyzed the impact of the Fight for $15 campaign to put a number on the gains since the campaign began in 2012. In spite of the fact that the federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since 2009, the report found significant wage gains for many millions of low wage workers:
Using U.S. Census data, we estimate that 26 million workers have been boosted by higher minimum wage policies passed by all levels of government since 2012—winning over $150 billion in additional annual income. We also find that the Fight for $15 has helped raise the earnings of nearly 12 million workers of color and 18 million women—likely helping narrow the racial and gender wage gaps (though a wage gap analysis is beyond the scope of this report).
Crucially, this worker-led movement delivered these additional earnings despite the racist, sexist, and anti-worker system of laws and political climate in the United States—with laws in place around the country that permit forced arbitration, wage preemption, misclassification, wage theft, and ongoing attacks on the few parts of our system that actually aid working people.
Labor organizing is an effective tool.
The union at the center of the vote, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), had said Amazon had illegally threatened staff with reduced benefits and compromised the election’s integrity via a ballot collection box it secured outside the warehouse.
US labor law forbids companies from threatening to cut benefits or close facilities when workers support a union. The law also prohibits them from spying on organizing activities or leaving employees with the impression they are under surveillance.
The second vote is not a guarantee, and the decision seems to be in the hands of a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board. The outsize defeat in the April vote surprised me. For now, the only action is fingers crossed.
Another piece of good news on the labor front is that New York Times unionized employees have finally won equitable parental leave provisions that were previously only available to those at management level.
There are fresh struggles at the Times, however, because the paper continues to use the ‘dead names’ of trans writers in bylines. Understandably, journalists want their bylines to be updated to reflect name changes after they come out as transgender.
In April, Times media reporter Ben Smith reported that the News Guild of New York, which the Times Guild belongs to, stated that the Times was resisting the byline policy changes because “retroactively correcting deadnames would be ‘fraught.'”
“We countered that incorrectly crediting journalists for their body of work would be ‘fraught’ as well,” the News Guild added.
The paper’s position is incredibly backward and the demand is easy to address. The writers do not want explanatory notes or formal corrections; they simply want all of their work to be credited to the names that they now use.
If you’re on Twitter, please tweet @nytimes to tell them that deadnaming writers is disrespectful. #CorrectTheBylines or just retweet this!
Librarians and staff at NYPL published an open letter yesterday to call out the institution’s failure to listen to staff. The letter details NYPL’s poor record on informing staff of COVID cases in open branches and the pressure on employees to provide services because of the needs of the library’s most vulnerable patrons.
“We understand that public libraries have long been a stopgap for social services where social safety nets have failed and/or disappeared, but this model has never been tenable, and upper management refused to answer why they continue to place this burden on our shoulders, particularly during a global health crisis,” the letter continued.
Call your individual council member, followed by Committee Chair for Libraries Jimmy Van Bramer at 718-383-9566. Tell them to read the letter and ask NYPL to reconsider hybrid services during the Delta outbreak.
When people speak up for justice, we amplify their voices… and that’s good news.
Have a great day!