labor

The Politics Of Calling In Sick

Sep 2, 2014

Got the flu? Or a new baby? Perhaps a little one with chicken pox? In most countries, your employer must pay your wages if you stay home sick or to care for others. Not in America.

But a growing grass-roots movement aims to change that — starting with paid sick leave.

Already the movement has met some success. This past weekend, California became the second state in the country to mandate sick leave for employees.

Demonstrators in Seattle form a human chain around City Hall in support of a $15 minimum wage in April 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Marcie Sillman talks with Jason Alcorn, associate director of Investigate West, about their new report into wage theft in Washington state and Seattle.

KUOW Photo/Ross Reynolds

Ross Reynolds visited some of the workers who have participated in the strikes at Amazon fulfillment centers in Germany. The country is the second biggest market for the Seattle-based online retailer. While selling in Germany may be straightforward for Amazon, labor relations are not.

Since May last year, union employees at Amazon fulfillment centers in Germany have been gone on strike seven times for one to three days at a time.

Courtesy of Gordon Janz

The U.S. Department of Justice has closed its four-year criminal investigation into whether environmental and worker safety laws were broken leading up to the fatal Tesoro refinery blast.

Too Many Apples, Too Few Hands In Washington

Aug 12, 2014
Flickr Photo/Andrea Parrish-Geyer (CC-BY-NC-ND)

 

Ross Reynolds talks with Karen Lewis, who is trying to come up with a better way to harvest apples when there's not enough people to pick them. Lewis is a tree fruit specialist at the Washington State University.

Voters in SeaTac, Washington, narrowly approved a $15 per hour minimum wage. Now, the state Supreme Court will decide whether that law should stand, and if so, whether it should apply to workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Currently it does not.

Courtesy of Microsoft

Following the announcement by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella that the company would undergo a 14 percent reduction in its workforce, conference rooms at the Redmond campus were reserved by the human resources.

Legal experts in Washington state are still assessing Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding labor unions. At issue is whether unions can require home health care workers to pay certain dues and fees. And, as KUOW’s Liz Jones reports, Washington is one of a handful of states where this ruling could apply.

TRANSCRIPT

One of the last two Supreme Court decisions of this term was billed as a potential "final destruction" or "kill shot" for public sector unions. They seem to have been merely nicked by a bullet.

The federal minimum wage for tipped workers has been $2.13 since 1991. That pay rate tends to get lost in the larger debate over whether to raise the national minimum wage for nontipped workers, which is $7.25 an hour.

In theory, the money from tips should make up the difference in pay — and then some. But according to a White House report, tipped workers are more than twice as likely as other workers to experience poverty.

Living On Tips

Marcie Sillman interviews Anna Steffeney, founder and CEO of LeaveLogic, about President Obama's working families summit and the current state of family leave policies at the federal, state and local levels.

Flickr Photo/John Boren (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Lisa Brooks talks with Port of Seattle co-president Courtney Gregoire about a proposal to raise the minimum wage for SeaTac airport employees to $13 by 2017.

Marcie Sillman talks with Heather Weiner, spokeswoman for the group YES! for SeaTac, about the Port of Seattle Commission's proposal to raise wages for some airport workers, but not others.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle’s new $15 an hour minimum wage is scheduled to start phasing in next April. But it first must survive several challenges, both in court and at the ballot box.

Franchisees are challenging the law in court, and two separate groups are collecting signatures to put the law to a popular vote on this November’s ballot.

David Hyde interviews Carl Adrian, president of the Tri-City Development Council. He has a message to Seattle entrepreneurs that want to relocate due to the hike in the minimum wage here: "We're open for business."

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