Today’s News and Commentary — October 6, 2016
According to The Crimson, hundreds of Harvard University dining service workers and supporters picketed on campus yesterday in the first walk out Harvard has seen since 1983. Negotiations, which are continuing during the strike, have failed over the dining workers’ demands for a minimum salary of $35,000 for those who wish to work the whole year and health benefits. Today begins day two of the strike.
The U.S. private sector added 154,000 jobs in September, the slowest pace in six months and below the 2016 average of 181,000. The ADP report, which is derived from ADP’s actual payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm private employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.
Amazon delivery drivers filed a class-action lawsuit against the retail giant, alleging the company violated federal labor laws by classifying them as contractors rather than employees. The drivers, who work for a service called Amazon Flex — Amazon’s smartphone delivery app by which drivers choose their own hours and shifts — are seeking back wages, overtime pay and compensation for fuel, car maintenance and other expenses. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Seattle, makes Amazon the latest large company to become roiled in the issue of how to classify “gig economy” workers as Amazon continues to grow its own shipping business.
In The New York Times, immigration judges, who have higher burnout rates than hospital workers and prison wardens, discuss the difficulty of keeping implicit biases out of immigration court decisions. Claims often rise and fall on judges’ instinctive reactions to personal testimony, and these personal judgments, affected by language and cultural barriers, and frequent lack of representation, all occur under the weight of the over 500,000 pending cases. Implicit bias training sessions have been put in place in a number of locations with the simplest and most effective advice to combat bias being — become aware of your bias, avoid rushing, and take breaks.
Despite Labor Day Weekend sales, U.S. car sales dipped in September. According to The Wall Street Journal, the pace of sales remains historically strong, but dealership traffic is cooling after more than six years of steady growth. Slowing sales have spurred auto makers to increase rebates and discounts to keep North American factories running at full throttle.