Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy officially deemed "essential workers" by New Zealand Prime Minister

From the Washington Post:

During a time of global crisis, climbing death tolls and widespread uncertainty, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been hailed globally for her compassionate handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

She continued to win hearts Monday when she clarified who exactly has made a list of “essential workers.”

“You’ll be pleased to know that we do consider both the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers,” she said, smiling. “But as you can imagine, at this time they’re going to be potentially quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies.”

It's not clear if these essential workers are also deserving of a living wage like all other essential workers, or if trickle-down economics will impact the income of Tooth Faeries across the globe. In my humble opinion, even immortal cryptids deserve fair compensation for their labor.

Tooth fairy and Easter Bunny are ‘essential workers,’ New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern confirms [Jennifer Hassan / Washington Post]

Image: Public Domain via NeedPix Read the rest

What we talk about when we don't talk about our salaries

Back in November, I shared a piece about the "Real Media Salaries Spreadsheet" that was started by one of my colleagues and publicized the incomes of more than a thousand people working in media.

Now the New York Times has published a great new piece about this movement, on the breakdown of the taboos around pay transparency:

Open discussions of pay lay bare some of the basic contradictions that govern so many workplaces, which claim to embrace their workers like family while insisting, all the while, on professionalism and discretion. They are communities whose members care about one another and yet also know that their respective right to belong is based on their utility, perceived or actual. To ask a co-worker her salary — especially one who has worked at an institution for years — opens up deeper, unsettling questions. How valued are you in this community? Are you more valued than I am, or beyond what I perceive as your worth? Or have you undervalued yourself, been timid, clueless, exploited?

The article does a fair job of approaching the issue from different differences, including the social and professional comfort involved with even trying to change the expectations around salary secrecy, and the actual data that reveals what happens when money matters are aired out in the open:

[U]sing data from a happiness survey that has been conducted in Norway since 1985 … Perez-Truglia found that the newfound accessibility of other people’s pay led to a significant increase in the happiness gap: Higher-income earners were happier than they were before the information was widely available, and lower-income workers were less happy.

Read the rest

This chart reveals why the rising GDP hasn't helped the middle class

The Manhattan Institute issued a report that reveals that a year of middle class wages no longer pays for major household expenditures.

From The Washington Post:

Lead author Oren Cass distills it as follows: “In 1985, the typical male worker could cover a family of four’s major expenditures (housing, health care, transportation, education) on 30 weeks of salary,” he wrote on Twitter last week. “By 2018 it took 53 weeks. Which is a problem, there being 52 weeks in a year.”

Image: Washington Post Read the rest

Hollywood assistants are the latest group to come together, share their salaries, and demand better working conditions

Back in October, TV writer Liz Alper started posting on Twitter about her harrowing experience as a writer's assistant in LA, hoping to break into the industry. Alper had spent more than a decade being overworked and underpaid, and, well, rightly had enough. Over the course of several weeks, she got the #PayUpHollywood hashtag trending, inspiring other film and TV professionals to share the stories of the less-than-glamorous lives they led in order to maybe, finally "make it" (whatever that entails).

Since then, Alper and her friend Deirdre Mangan, another TV writer, have surveyed more than 1500 support staff members from the LA entertainment industry about their incoming and working conditions. As they explain in a press release about the data they compiled:

“Hollywood has created a paywall around the industry that keeps out anyone who doesn’t come from money or who won’t put up with absurd, unsafe and potentially illegal working conditions,” said #PayUpHollywood co-founder Liz Alper. “We need to move past the tired myth that ‘this is just how it’s always been’, because it’s not true. Hollywood did not always negligently add to the income inequality, housing and mental health crises our country is facing. We can and must do better.”

Like the recent list of journalism salaries, the survey revealed a lot of people making $50,000 a year or less while struggling to survive in an expensive city where they're expected to live in order to do their jobs. And of course, there's racial and gender inequality a-plenty, and no clear path for upwards mobility for anyone, really. Read the rest

Hundreds of journalists are sharing their salary information in a spreadsheet

I'm in a private Slack with some other media/journalist people, and someone brought up the idea of pay transparency. After all: if you don't know what your colleagues are being paid, it's hard to negotiate for a fair rate. We're all conditioned to believe that our financials should be private, but as far as salaries are concerned, that secrecy only ever tends to work in favor of your employer.

So this particular someone made a Google Form and a corresponding spreadsheet where journalists and other media professionals could anonymously add their salary information. And in barely 24 hours, it's spread to CJR and Bloomberg and even inspired Mike Cernovich to go off on some completely unsubstantiated rant to set off his army of loyal trolls because apparently all journalists are scum and also trustfund babies even though there isn't any proof of that (and I can personally assure you that my personal information is on that list and that my public school teacher mom and print salesman dad are not rolling in the dough).

As of this writing, more than 200 people have responded. On one hand, it is admittedly difficult to verify the claims contained within the data. On the other hand, there's still lots of eye-opening information to glean. Unsurprisingly, there are pay disparities across race and gender; but the same thing happens across geographic location, and work experience. Perhaps the most shocking revelation so far is just the absurd range of income of people working in news media. Read the rest