Are you giving workers reason to feel they’re ‘sitting ducks’? This week in the war on workers

Are you giving workers reason to feel they’re ‘sitting ducks’? This week in the war on workers

A couple months ago I was in line at the grocery store when the cashier snapped at me to keep a 6-foot distance between myself and the people around me. My first reaction was irritation and a sense of being unjustly accused—I was literally standing directly on top of the social distancing marker the store had on the floor, and I wasn’t moving. But a breath later I was able to remind myself that a grocery store worker probably has plenty of reason to be suspicious of the people in her line, thanks to people who do exactly the things she warned me against, and probably worse.

Now those workers have a new reason to be concerned with the relaxing of masking rules on an honor system that we know for certain that unvaccinated people will dishonor, as this story about retail workers freaked out by their employers relaxing mask policies with lots of people still unvaccinated makes clear. 

“We just feel like we’re sitting ducks,” Virginia grocery worker Janet Wainwright told The New York Times’ Noam Scheiber. “Now it’s just a free-for-all.”

● The NFL said it would stop “race-norming,” a grotesque, racist practice wherein the league went ahead and assumed that Black players would have lower cognitive function than white players, which made it harder for Black players to prove that they had dementia or other deficits potentially caused by the game. This is literally denying people harmed by working for you the money they need and deserve based on a racist belief about intelligence. Black players are calling on the NFL to review past awards in the concussion settlement for racial bias, but … we’ll see if that happens.

● A South Dakota meatpacking plant that became a COVID-19 hotspot may soon face a strike, as Smithfield Foods is trying to cut a 15-minute break and increase medical costs for workers, while the union pushes not just to stave off cuts but to improve conditions.

● Oregon legislative staff votes to form union, first of its kind in the country.

● Former worker sues Tampa lead smelter over infant son’s exposure.


NEW – Missouri public sector unions score big victory as state Supreme Court strikes down law that required employees to annually authorize dues and included other restrictions#moleg

— Jonathan Shorman (@jonshorman) June 1, 2021


The White House will announce today it’s nominating David Weil, leading “fissured” work expert who’s repeatedly called out Uber for not classifying workers as employees, to resume his Obama-era role as federal Wage and Hour chief @benjaminpenn

— Josh Eidelson (@josheidelson) June 3, 2021

● For pride month, a reading list on queerness and work.

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