Today’s News & Commentary — September 28, 2016
With only 40 days to go until the presidential election, hundreds of tech companies have announced that employees will get a paid company holiday on November 8. While most of these companies are located in San Francisco, others have offices nationwide, including Spotify, About.com, and Wikipedia. Participating employers hope to reverse the recent downward trend in voting and possibly sway the federal government to announce a paid holiday as well. President Obama has previously endorsed the idea of a National Voting Holiday.
This week, Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and the National Women’s Law Center released the results of an elucidating study called “Nightcare,” which explores the challenges faced by night-shift restaurant workers in securing childcare. Over the last three years, researchers interviewed 2,000 restaurant workers in New York City and conducted structured focus groups with others. One key finding is that nightcare is rarely available through licensed providers in workers’ neighborhoods, and workers must rely on informal networks during night shifts. In addition, the researchers found that, because many restaurant workers are tipped sub-minimum wage employees, they “vie for the highest earnings shifts at night and on weekends,” when childcare is least accessible—often forcing parents of young children to switch their occupations temporarily or permanently.
And, in international news, three prominent labor activists in China were sentenced to suspended prison terms this week. According to the New York Times, the activists have been “extremely effective at organizing workers to win higher pay and better conditions,” while China has been cracking down on labor organizing in the face of factories relocating to cheaper countries, such as Vietnam.