Today’s News & Commentary — October 9, 2018
2,700 workers at major Hawaii hotels have joined a nationwide hotel workers strike, the Associated Press reports. The strike began last week in Boston, San Francisco, and other major U.S. cities, as OnLabor has previously reported. Representatives of Unite Here, the union responsible for the strike, say workers must be paid enough to make a living without a second job.
Postal workers spent their Columbus Day holiday protesting a White House push to privatize the U.S. Postal Service, the Associated Press reports. Earlier this year President Trump established a task force to investigate the fact that the postal service is losing money, saying the service “must be restructured to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout.” Chicago postal workers rallied downtown with signs reading “U.S. Mail, Not For Sale” and “We Belong To The People, Not Corporate America.” At a rally in Washington, American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein said that privatization will mean less service and higher costs to taxpayers.
Pension leaders have recently become more willing to confront private equity firms over the human impact of their investments, the New York Times reports. A top Oregon pension official criticized private equity firm TPG over its lack of diversity, citing disparaging remarks about women made by one of the firm’s founders. New Jersey’s pension fund recently moved to ensure that private equity firms with mortgage investments in Puerto Rico do not foreclose on the island’s residents. These pension moves come in addition to the recent challenging of Toys ‘R’ Us’s former private equity owner KKR over the retailer’s massive layoffs without severance over the past year.
Workers across the technology industry have recently been challenging their employers over the real-world impacts of the technology they produce, the New York Times reports. Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce workers have signed petitions in recent months confronting their employers over projects that aid government surveillance or military forces in the U.S. or elsewhere. Google has seen employees resign after uncovering a project aiding the Department of Defense with drone strikes, along with other resignations after it was revealed that the company planned to aid the Chinese government in internet censorship. Additionally, candidates for tech jobs have begun inquiring about ethical concerns at their potential workplaces. At the online real estate company Redfin, for example, summer interns questioned the CEO regarding how the way the company displays data could contribute to socio-economic divides in neighborhoods.