Today’s News & Commentary – February 7, 2018

Published February 7th, 2018 -  - 02.07.1811


The Boston Globe reports that a group of 500 airport workers at Logan Airport are preparing to strike this afternoon.  Employed by ReadyJet and Flight Services & Systems, these baggage handlers, wheelchair attendants, cabin cleaners, and skycaps, have authorized a strike in response to alleged threats and intimidation by management during these workers’ unionization drive.

At the end of the day yesterday, U.S. stock indexes reported increases after two days of losses.  The dip in stock markets appears to have been in response to figures from Friday’s unemployment report showing that wages had grown 2.9 percent last month in contrast to wage growth one year ago.  This finding touched off a fear among investors that inflation may begin to rise, and in response, the Federal Reserve may see fit to raise interest rates.  Read more here.

The Wall Street Journal asks, “[i]s it still OK to date someone you work with?”  The article observes that increased awareness of sexual harassment at work has spurred questions about romance in the office.  Survey responses from CareerBuilder suggest that around 40 percent of employees have dated a fellow coworker although last year this number dipped to 36 percent.  The article spotlights Facebook and Google’s policy specifying, “[e]mployees are only allowed to ask a co-worker out once.  If they are turned down, they don’t get to ask again.  Ambiguous answers such as ‘I’m busy’ or ‘I can’t that night,’ count as a ‘no.’”  Read more here.

The New York Times reported on the suicide of Doug Schifter, a New York livery driver, and the ways in which Uber and Lyft’s disruption of the industry has led to despair among drivers.  Schifter’s suicide note, “a lengthy Facebook post,” sets out “the structural cruelties that had left him in such dire circumstance.”  Schifter faced a sharp increase in work hours, the loss of his health insurance, and an accumulation of debt.  He also appears to have lost a sense of respect and pride in his profession as it stopped being the domain of professional drivers.  The increased competition in the industry from Uber and Lyft has lead to sharp declines in income for traditional drivers, and the Times reports that Bhairavi Desai, the executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, is “increasingly concerned about the possibility that [drivers] would begin taking their lives.”  Read more here.

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