Today’s News & Commentary — June 18, 2018
A new report shows that workers paid the minimum wage can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the U.S., the Hill reports. The report, released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, concludes that even the newly popular $15 an hour minimum wage would not cover the cost of rent for a “decent” two-bedroom apartment in most states. The study defined an affordable apartment as one where a worker could spend less than 30 percent of their income on rent. The report found that a minimum wage worker could afford a one-bedroom apartment in just 20 counties nationwide.
In more bad news for minimum wage workers, Microsoft is beginning a push to help automate store checkouts, Reuters reports. The computing giant is developing technology to track what shoppers add to their carts, in a bid to help retailers compete with Amazon’s new automated shopping experience. Amazon recently opened a highly automated store in Seattle, and plans to open two more in the near future. Currently, cashier is one of the most common jobs in the U.S.
More than 400 union workers at the Washington Post demanded a raise and better benefits in an open letter to the paper’s owner, Jeff Bezos, the New York Post reports. The Washington Post Guild has been in contract negotiations for over a year, and the paper offered only a $10 per week pay raise, and asked workers to waive their right to severance payments if laid off. The workers’ letter was published last Thursday, and it accused Bezos, who is the richest man in the world according to Forbes magazine, of not offering “fair wages; fair benefits for retirement, family leave and health care; and a fair amount of job security.”
Union workers at Caesars’ Las Vegas casino-resorts approved a new five-year contract this week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The contract addresses sexual harassment in the workplace, job security, wage increases. Additionally, the contract gives Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who lose their work authorization to right to get their jobs back if they are able to regain a work permit.