Four senators, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have written a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to ask what measures are being taken to protect warehouse workers from COVID-19. The coronavirus outbreak that causes this deadly disease has now infected more than 20,000 people throughout America. Read the rest
I've written here before to mention that I perform lengthy sets of Irish folk music around St. Patrick's Day*, and there are quite a few of those popular pub songs that include (well-deserved, IMHO) shout-outs to James Connolly, a stalwart champion of workers' rights who was executed by British soldiers after the 1916 Easter Rising. As I get older, I haven't found myself getting more conservative, like the Boomers told me I would; instead, I find myself realizing more and more that James Connolly was right about a damn lot of things.
One of my favorite writings of his — which I find I reference in casual conversation more than I should probably admit — is this piece on the differences between "state monopolies" and "socialism." Originally published in the June 10, 1899 issue of Workers’ Republic, this short essay impressively articulates the differences between centralized government control of a society, and what it means to actually put that ownership into collective public hands.
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Socialism properly implies above all things the co-operative control by the workers of the machinery of production; without this co-operative control the public ownership by the State is not Socialism – it is only State capitalism. The demands of the middle-class reformers, from the Railway Reform League down, are simply plans to facilitate the business transactions of the capitalist class. State Telephones – to cheapen messages in the interest of the middle class who are the principal users of the telephone system; State Railways – to cheapen carriage of goods in the interest of the middle-class trader; State-construction of piers, docks, etc.
On Tuesday, McDonald’s Corporation was sued by a group of workers in the state of Michigan who say the global fast-food chain allows pervasive sexual harassment to run rampant at its restaurant locations. Read the rest
Good news everybody: Apple's really sorry about recording our conversations with Siri. In a statement issued earlier today, the company's talking heads stated that they realized that the '...haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals'. The letter goes on to say that, to make up for their eavesdropping shenanigans, Apple's going to be making a few changes to how Siri does its thing.
First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.
Second, users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time.
Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri
This of course, is great news for anyone that uses Apple's Siri voice assistant. Unfortunately, that less people will be needed to snoop on the conversations between the companies customers and their tech likely means that some resources will need to be shifted around in order to accomoda—wait, what?
From The Guardian:
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Hundreds of Apple workers across Europe who were employed to check Siri recordings for errors have lost their jobs after the company announced it was suspending the programme earlier this month.
Employers in British Columbia will no longer be able to skim worker's tips, according to a story in the Read the rest
“The authenticity of the following anonymous op-ed has been verified by Medium’s editorial staff.” Read the rest
GE Transportation workers were told after merger their new employer “wants to turn this into an Amazon warehouse,” says labor union.
Did you know all those hundreds of thousands of U.S. government workers who aren't getting paid during Trump's 18-days-and-counting shutdown still have to show up for work, even if they are not getting paid? Hard to believe, right? Read the rest
Amazon is eliminating monthly bonuses and stock awards for warehouse workers and other hourly employees, apparently to help pay for raises. The internet retail giant pledged earlier this week to raise pay to at least $15 an hour. Read the rest
All Disney resort workers will be paid at least $15 an hour by 2021, reports Charles Pulliam-Moore.
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This is another win for workers, as just this past July unions representing almost 10,000 Disneyland employees won their own fight for a $15 minimum wage.
Disney’s revenue, generated in part by the labor of its parks and resorts workforce, increased by 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 to $4.7 billion.
People who work in chicken and turkey processing plants run by America's biggest poultry producers are routinely denied bathroom breaks. Because of this, some resort to wearing diapers while they're at work on the processing line, Oxfam America said in a report released Wednesday.
`They are in danger of serious health problems,' says the report.
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Walmart has fought against unionization at every step of the way, including producing videos to dissuade workers from organizing. Read the rest
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), a trade group alliance that works to improve laborers' rights around the globe, released its Global Rights Index this week. Countries are ranked from 1 (best) to 5 (worst) on a scale of how well they guard workers' rights. Cambodia, Qatar, and Guatemala were among the worst offenders. Read the rest
Workers in Brazil who must answer work emails on their mobile phones after their job shift ends can qualify for overtime pay under a new law. The Star via Slashdot (via @evgenymorozov). Read the rest