Today’s News & Commentary — May 13, 2015
Facebook, Inc., is taking significant steps to make sure that its contractors treat their workers better. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company recently required that any contractors whose employees perform a significant amount of work for Facebook must pay them a minimum wage of at least $15/hour, at least 15 paid holidays annually, sick leave, vacation, and either paid parental leave or a $4,000 compensatory bonus. The company expects to absorb the price increases that come as contractors raise their rates to compensate for the new policies. The move comes as part of a larger trend of Silicon Valley companies voluntarily taking measures to account for the rising inequality in the Bay Area.
According to Politico, the AFL-CIO is working with Congressional Democrats to craft a series of bills to overhaul the NLRA. According to sources, the bills will be unveiled in the next few weeks.
The Los Angeles Times reports that “the Los Angeles city council will hold a special hearing this afternoon on raising the minimum wage.” “Business leaders say the city is rushing the process, because the meeting agenda was not released until yesterday afternoon. Mayor Eric Garcetti suggested raising the minimum wage to $13.25 by 2017, but some lawmakers want the minimum wage to go up to $15.25 by 2019. The city is also discussing whether tips should count towards the minimum wage.”
“On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced emergency protections for the state’s nail salon workers, just days after two New York Times reports detailed widespread wage theft and health risks in the industry.” Lydia DePillis writes in the Boston Globe that nail salon workers are not the only ones left significantly under-protected by labor and health and safety laws. She documents the vulnerability of temporary workers, fracking workers, agricultural and domestic workers, and car wash workers. Many of these jobs are filled by recent immigrants with limited English capacity, who often become ripe targets for exploitation on-the-job.