News & Commentary

June 27, 2016

Adi Kamdar

Adi Kamdar is a student at Harvard Law School.

According to the BBC, the Institute of Directors, an organization of business leaders in the United Kingdom, surveyed 1,000 members and found that nearly two-thirds thought the Brexit vote was negative for their business—meaning workers will likely take a hit. A quarter of respondents planned to freeze recruitment, and 5% planned to cut jobs. In the last few days, two major banks, HSBC and Morgan Stanley, have announced plans to move thousands of jobs outside of England if the country successfully leaves the European Union.

Brittany Bonson, a casino worker in Las Vegas, applauds Hillary Clinton’s concrete plan to address child care in the United States through federal tax credits, relieving the burden on many low-income workers, but sees validity in Donald Trump’s business-based approach too. In her opinion piece in the New York Times, Bonson notes that while Clinton’s credits would be an economic boon for workers, the hospitality industry in Nevada—which employs 375,000 people—should be incentivized to step up its game too. Casino workers operate odd hours, making it difficult to find a child care facility that will accommodate their erratic schedules. Federal subsidies coupled with pressure on businesses to provide and encourage a workplace culture that supports child care “is not only an ethical proposition, but a worthwhile economic investment.”

Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and professor at MIT Sloan, has penned an opinion in the Boston Globe blasting Trump’s plans to impose huge tariffs on imports from countries like China and Mexico. Such tariffs would only be met by reciprocal tariffs, and too many U.S. jobs rely on our export economy for that to be a positive outcome. While many export-heavy states will likely be voting Democratic, Johnson notes that Texas, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota all have hundreds of thousands of export-supporting jobs.

A fascinating piece in In These Times highlights how workers in the wrestling and porn industries struggle to effectively organize. Professional wrestlers have deep pay disparities, despite the sport’s largely scripted nature, and few receive healthcare and other benefits. The porn industry has a history of sexual assault and often does not provide benefits (including requisite STI testing). “Both industries use freelance status to put performers through grueling schedules and scenes while evading responsibility for their safety and health-care.” Both industries profit on their performers bodies, “but fail to provide the resources or protections to preserve those bodies.”

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