Today’s News & Commentary — September 12, 2017

Over at HuffPost, Sharon Block details how even though Silicon Valley is finally beginning to address issues of sexual harassment and gender and racial bias, low-wage workers of all genders and races are still getting left behind. She argues that “the most important explanation for why Uber and similar companies feel free to ignore the plight of their low-wage nonprofessional workers is their lack of bargaining power.” But she also details why there may be hope on the horizon for low-wage workers, and why Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, should use the company’s lightening-rod status to better working conditions for not just its corporate employees, but also its drivers.

Owning a taxi medallion once “seemed a guaranteed route to financial security, something that was more tangible and reliable than the stock market since people hailed cabs in good times and bad. Generations of new immigrants toiled away for years to earn enough to buy a coveted medallion. Those who had them took pride in them, and viewed them as their retirement fund.” The New York Times looks at the personal price taxi drivers are paying for the rise of Uber and other ride-hailing apps – for some, the American dream turned into a nightmare.

A manager of a Pizza Hut in the path of Hurricane Irma is facing public scrutiny for posting a policy for employees that limited their ability to evacuate before the storm hit. The policy dictated that employees could not evacuate more than 24 hours before the storm and had to return within 72 hours. “Failure to show for these shifts, regardless of reason, will be considered a no call/no show and documentation will be issued,” the policy read. Legally, workers fleeing Irma could very well end up fired for not showing up to work during the storm.

And as both Texas and Florida look to rebuild in the coming months, workers’ safety experts worry that laborers will be exploited and placed into dangerous situations like many were after Hurricane Katrina.  Studies after Hurricane Katrina found that wage theft and unhealthy working conditions were rampant and that undocumented workers were particularly vulnerable. The Trump administration’s proposals to cut funding to OSHA and increase deportations of undocumented immigrants may exacerbate exploitation of day laborers.

The Outline looks at how job postings requesting a “neutral accent” are probably illegal because they discriminate against applicants based on national origin.



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