Across America, employers are using noncompetes to claim ownership of employees' skills

Noncompete agreements have historically been the provision of highly-placed execs and critical "knowledge workers" (and even then, fast-growing economies like California have banned them in the interests of encouraging competition and growth) but now employers are routinely making the "agreements" a condition of unskilled waged labor, from making sandwiches to digging holes for $10/hour. Read the rest

Guillotine watch: LAX's new one-percenter luxury terminal -- UPDATED with veiled legal threats!, AND MORE LEGAL THREATS!

Update again: We've had yet another legal threat regarding this. The lawyers for the terminal want us to include the notice below or face litigatation. I think it was all implied by my update yesterday, but I have no objection to adding this text too (they sent it to us as a bitmap, so I can't paste the text, but I'm including a screenshot of the relevant section of the letter). They require that this notice be posted without "more content that is sarcastic and malicious.":

Update: the proprietors of this dubious enterprise want everyone to know that the REDACTED that shows the REDACTED captioned with REDACTED is not on general display. It is REDACTED.

Trieste Pinzini, writing on behalf of ID PR, sent me a note advising me that "This matter has now fallen into legal matter," which is technically a sentence, though I'm not sure what, exactly, it means.

Ms Pinzini wrote to me initially at an email address I don't use for Boing Boing correspondence and don't pay close attention to. Now I've got her second email, which notes, (hilariously) that "The erroneous story you ran produced 100+ disparaging comments, specifically about the non-existent video supposedly shown to customers of The Private Suite."

Yeah. Because the thing that really stood out about this thing was REDACTED.

Pay $7,500/year and $2,700/flight and you can use can use the new "private terminal" at LAX where you are waited on hand-and-foot, including a personal sit-down with the TSA guard who "searches" you before you're put in a BMW and driven across the tarmac to your flight -- best of all, REDACTED. Read the rest

Coal execs' pay rises and rises, while miners' wages stagnate

The coal CEOs who are leading their companies to bankruptcy are pocketing multimillion-dollar bonuses, with average coal exec wages rising five times as fast as wages for miners since 2004: execs take home an average of $200K (up 60%!) while tractor/truck drivers average $43,770 (up 15%, a real-terms pay-cut) and mining construction workers average $31,470 (up 11%, another real-terms cut). Read the rest

Extreme wealth inequality will always devour the societies that produce it

My new novel Walkaway (US tour/UK tour) is set in a world that is being torn apart by out-of-control wealth inequality, but not everyone thinks that inequality is what destabilizes the world -- there's a kind of free-market belief that says the problem is really poverty, not inequality, and that the same forces that make the rich richer also lift poor people out of misery, delivering the sanitation, mass food production, communications tools and other innovations that rescues poor people from privation. Read the rest

"Golden Geese": the American 1%ers who arrange a second citizenship to escape taxation

David Lesperance is a Canadian-born lawyer who specializes in helping the super-rich secretly buy foreign citizenship so they can escape taxation at home. Read the rest

Wells Fargo woulda gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that darn trade union

For decades, Wells Fargo pressured its employees to commit millions of acts of fraud against its customers, using threats and blackballing to terrorize low-level employees. Read the rest

United's passenger-beatings are a feature of its business, not a bug

In a world where the airlines record-smashing profits comes from a small number of increasingly luxurious first-class seats, the entire focus of the industry is on figuring out how to convince just a few marginal customers to spend more for one of those profit-centers instead of deadheading in coach. Read the rest

Wealth inequality is correlated with CO2 emissions

A new paper from a trio of Boston College researchers shows that the states with the highest degree of income inequality are also the worst offenders for carbon emissions; as the share of wealth and income claimed by the richest 10% increases, the amount of carbon-intensive consumption they engage in grows, as does their political clout, allowing them to buy laws and policies that let them pollute more. Read the rest

The linguistic backflips used by Deliveroo to pretend its employees are independent contractors

Deliveroo is a "gig economy" company that hires people to cycle around big cities, delivering meals, while pretending that all their riders are actually "independent contractors" running their own businesses through which they subcontract to Deliveroo, thus dodging any need to pay benefits or comply with basic labor, health and safety rules. Read the rest

Making sense of Basic Income proposals

Universal Basic Income isn't just one proposal: it's a whole spectrum of ideas, with different glosses and nuances coming from the right and the left, from libertarians and those of a more paternalistic bent. Read the rest

Uber threatens to leave Seattle if drivers can unionize; drivers rejoice

The City of Seattle voted to allow Uber drivers to form a union, and Uber says that if its court challenge to the rule is unsuccessful, it might leave Seattle. Read the rest

A rare class-action victory over Wells Fargo's fake accounts proves binding arbitration sucks

Wells Fargo got caught ripping off millions of customers by setting up fake accounts in their names, then billing them for "services" related to those accounts, sometimes tanking their credit-ratings, costing them jobs, even their houses -- but the company says you're not allowed to sue them because their employees fraudulently signed your name to a "binding arbitration" agreement that forces you to take your case to a fake judge whose salary they pay. Read the rest

Monopoly capitalism destroyed American black businesses, which provided safe employment for civil rights activists

For a generation, Americas anti-trust enforcers have walked away from their duties, gripped by an ideology that says that bigger companies mean more profits (which benefit the rich) and lower prices (which benefit everyone else). Read the rest

Connecticut's undertaxed super-rich hedgies get "tax bills" from anti-cuts protesters

Connecticut, home to the richest hedge-fund managers in America, is going broke, cutting services and gutting pension plans to try and fill its $1.8B budget hole -- a hole it plans on filling by taking away $1.5B from the state's workers. Read the rest

Orange County's Seal Beach jail offers posh, $100/day accommodations to rich crooks

If you're convicted of a crime in Orange County, you can shell out thousands of dollars to be housed in Seal Beach's fancy "pay to stay" jail, which made $365,000 in the last fiscal year by aggressively marketing its "work release, flat screen TVs, computer/media room, clean facility, new beds" to deep-pocketed criminals, who pay $100 a night to stay there rather than one of Orange County's notoriously violent, dirty jails. Read the rest

70% of the benefits of Trump's childcare credits will go to households earning $100K and up

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has run the numbers on Trump's childcare credit proposals and concluded that it is a massive gift to the richest American households, with little-to-no benefit for the poorest Americans who struggle most with childcare costs. Read the rest

Catastrophes are reliable levelers of inequality; inequality creates catastrophes

Stanford history and classics professor Walter Scheidel writes in the Atlantic that the only reliable ways for unequal societies to become more equal is to suffer catastrophes that upend the order of things; Scheidel concludes that our modern, unequal state may not be able to avail itself of a convenient catastrophe for this purpose because "Technology has made mass warfare obsolete; violent, redistributive revolution has lost its appeal; most states are more resilient than they used to be; and advances in genetics will help humanity ward off novel germs." Read the rest

More posts