Kimberly Clark says the Trump tax-cuts let it fire 5,500 US workers and pay out dividends to its shareholders

Kimberly Clark, makers of Kleenex and Huggies, says it will lay off 10-12% of its US workforce and divert the savings to shareholder dividends and capital investment (presumably robots to replace the workers, or infrastructure to import finished goods from lower-cost offshore labor markets), and it says that action was triggered by Trump's tax-cuts, which freed up the cash needed to effect the changes. Read the rest

Short-termism led the Democratic Party to let unions die, and now they've lost their base

For decades, Democrats in power and in opposition have traded away labor laws and rules that protected unions in order to gain short-term advantages in political horse-trades, and now, with union membership down from 26 to 10.7% since the Reagan years, districts that formed Democrats' "blue wall" have been poverty-struck and have flipped for Trump. Read the rest

Comic-strip contracts, so no one argues they’re too confusing to be enforceable

University of Western Australia Law professor Camilla Baasch Andersen has helped businesspeople draft legally binding contracts that take the form of simple comic-strips, arguing that their simplicity not only promotes understanding, but also insulates companies from the risk of courts finding their contracts unenforceable because they were too confusing (an Australian court has forced insurers Suncorp and Allianz to refund AUD60m paid for insurance that was of "little or no value," but which Australians purchased thanks to confusing fine-print that made it hard to assess). Read the rest

Marriott fires employee for "willfully liking" a tweet in support of Tibetan independence

Marriott has fired one of its social media managers because the employee "wrongfully liked" a tweet from Friends of Tibet, a group that supports Tibetan independence from China. Read the rest

German steelworkers demand the right to take two years' worth of "work-life balance" 28-hour work weeks to look after children or aging parents

Large German companies are required to give board-seats to representatives from their workers' unions, which makes the companies both more profitable and more equitable, so it's unusual for German workers to go out on strike, but 15,000 members of IG Metall union, the country's largest trade union, are engaged in short-term "warning strikes" against 80 companies for the right to take up to two years' worth of 28-hour working weeks, a kind of "work-life-balance" leave that has evolved out of the country's existing parental leave, but would allow workers to take extra time to care for aging relatives. Read the rest

Camperforce: Laura Poitras documentary on the elderly precariat nomads who keep Amazon's warehouses working

Last September, I wrote about Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century, Jessica Bruder's important, fascinating book-length investigation into the Americans who live on the road out of economic necessity, including the Camperforce, a precariat army of retirees who saved carefully all their working lives, only to be bankrupted in the 2008 financial crisis who travel from Amazon warehouse to Amazon warehouse, filling in as seasonal and temp workers on gruelling, 12-hour shifts that leave them in pain and with just enough money to make it to the next stop. Read the rest

The majority of US workers live in "employment monopsonies" where there is little or no competition for workers

In Labor Market Concentration, a new working paper from economists at U Penn, U Navarra and the Roosevelt Institute, researchers analyze a large US government data-set to determine how many workers live in markets where there is effective only one or two employers, a situation called "monoposony" (when a single buyer has a monopoly). Read the rest

"Blatantly unlawful": companies use Facebook targeting to ensure older workers don't see help-wanted ads

A Propublica investigation (ed: I am an annual donor to Propublica and urge you to support their work) found dozens of companies who placed help wanted ads on Facebook that used ad-targeting to exclude older workers, a practice that an employment law specialist called "blatantly unlawful." Read the rest

Trump's Department of Labor proposes rule that lets employers steal employees' tips

Under a new rule proposed by the Department of Labor, restaurants can take servers' tips and "pool" them in order to disperse some to dishwashers, bussers, etc: but it doesn't actually require them to do so, and, instead, allows employers to pocket some or all of the wait-staff's tips. Read the rest

ACA isn't enough: single-payer is a feminist issue

Any health-care system that depends on employers or wages is going to privilege the people with the highest-paid jobs (men) and take away power from people who do the bulk of unwaged work (women). Read the rest

Australian government upholds dismissal of sneaky golfer who shielded his employer-issued tracking device in a chip-bag

Tom Colella worked for 20 years as an Instrument Electrical Tradesperson for Aroona Alliance in Western Australia, until he was fired in on Sept 20, 2016 for sneaking off to play golf every Wednesday afternoon and hiding his absences from his employer by putting the PDA that he was obliged to carry -- in order to track his movements -- in a mylar potato-chip bag that acted as a Faraday cage and prevented it from receiving GPS signals and other location-identifying beacons and storing or communicating his location for his employer. Read the rest

How to investigate and report on modern slavery

Thalia Holmes summarizes the "Exposing Human Trafficking and Forced Labor" panel at the 10th Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Johannesburg, where veteran reporters who've broken major modern slavery stories discussed their methods and offered advice for others pursuing similar stories. Read the rest

Unpaid Zara garment workers slip pleas for overdue wages into clothes

Turkish purchasers of clothing from fast fashion brand Zara have discovered notes slipped into pockets of their clothes by workers begging for support in their struggle to get long-overdue wages. Read the rest

Gothamist unionizes, Trumpist billionaire owner throws a tantrum and shuts it down

Joe Ricketts, Trumpist founder of TD Ameritrade and owner of DNAinfo (which acquired Gothamist and the other -ist) sites, has shut down all Gothamist and related properties following a unionization vote by his employees. Read the rest

Trump told coal miners he'd bring back coal, so they're refusing retraining

The programs Obama established to retrain coal miners are going begging in Pennsylvania, undersubscribed because the out-of-work miners they were established to help are convinced that Donald Trump wasn't bullshitting when he promised to bring back coal. Read the rest

Haribo: sweetened with forced labor and abused animals

In "The Haribo Check," aired on German public broadcast ARD, a documentary team audits Haribo's supply chain and finds "modern day slaves" in Brazil working to harvest carnauba wax, a key ingredient in the sweets: the plantations pay $12/day, and workers (including children) sleep out of doors, drink unfiltered river water, and have no access to toilets, under conditions that a Brazilian Labor Ministry official called "modern-day slavery." Read the rest

Applicants for the Customs and Border Protection agency keep admitting to ghastly crimes during polygraph tests

Back in April, experts warned that Trump's plan to hire 5,000 new Customs and Border Patrol officers was unlikely to succeed: the agency already loses 1,000 employees per year and a significant number of applicants are disqualified on the grounds of past bad actions, from theft to rape to drug smuggling. Read the rest

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