Yesterday was a slow news day in the labor world, as many workers – including the journalists who write about labor and make these posts possible – enjoyed a well earned day off after a difficult, exhausting year. But many workers still make the fun the rest of us have on memorial day possible, and their working conditions are always worth paying attention to.
Some of us, for example, went to breweries to celebrate the warm weather. As the craft beer industry has exploded in recent years, female brewers are calling attention to sexism and workplace harassment within the industry. An instagram post soliciting stories of sexism within the industry attracted hundreds of replies, including this one from a female brewer: “Me: standing on top of a ladder. A guy from behind the bar: ‘Watch out for that glass ceiling up there!’” The outcry prompted a response from the brewers association which condemned discrimination and harassment, but acknowledged that “Realizing our shared vision of a safe, inclusive, and equitable community will require a long-term, industry-wide effort.”
Others of us took in some playoff basketball, and maybe did so in person as attendance restrictions have been eased as vaccination rates rise. As fans return to the stands, they are increasingly endangering the working conditions of the athletes they pay hundreds of dollars to watch play. Just in two weeks of playoff basketball, there have been five separate incidents of fans harassing or attacking players and their families, or storming the court. In Utah, three separate fans hurled racially abusive insults towards Tee Morant – the father of Memphis guard Ja Morant. In New York, a fan spit on Trae Young; in Philadelphia, a fan dumped popcorn on Russell Westbrook as he limped to the locker room with an injury; and in Boston, a fan threw a full water bottle at Kyrie Irving as he left the court after the game (the bottle missed Irving’s head). Irving, who warned about being subject to racism in his return to Boston, described how these racialized incidents call back to a history “in terms of entertainment and performers and sports for a long period of time, and just underlying racism and just treating people like they’re in a human zoo, throwing stuff at people, saying things.” And yesterday a fan charged the court in Washington before being tackled by a security guard.
Last, perhaps some Americans sadly took part in a timeless memorial day tradition and injured their hands in fireworks explosions. The nurses who care for these injured Americans play a crucial role in the holiday. In Kalispell, Montana, nurses are striking this morning and plan to stay out until Friday as negotiations at Logan Health have proved fruitless even after 19 months of bargaining. The nurses hope to have it classified as an Unfair Labor Practice strike – the NLRB is investigating the employer for the retaliatory firing of a union nurse – which would bar Logan Health from hiring permanent replacements.