State and local governments have shed 1.5 million jobs in pandemic

ABC Action News / YouTube Unemployment claims surging in the State 1585076472.jpg...
ABC Action News / YouTube

State and local governments have hemorrhaged 1.5 million jobs since February, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reports. Nine states lost more than one in 10 state and local government jobs, and in 17 states, more than 10% of jobs in education were lost. But that’s just a down payment on the carnage that’s coming if Senate Republicans continue standing in the way of the needed aid to state and local governments—up to 5.3 million jobs could be lost.

“By not providing federal aid, policymakers would also be sentencing the economy to a prolonged depression, like the one caused by the budget cuts imposed in the aftermath of the Great Recession,” EPI’s Julia Wolfe and Melat Kassa write. “We should heed the lessons learned from the last recovery, namely that public-sector cuts translated into private-sector job losses, and that states that did not take the path of austerity had a much stronger recovery.”

● Supermarket chain Hy-Vee is launching a pro-mask campaign, but workers say it’s not enough.

● California’s child care providers win historic union election in a landslide.

● She was the only woman of color in her welding class. Now she’s helping other Latinas get into the industry:

“From my personal experience of joining the welding industry as a woman and trying to enter a creative world and then also trying to survive in a white world, I know I would have liked to have more support,” she said. “That’s why it is so important that we are inclusive and that we have women from all backgrounds, ethnicities, ages, and education levels.”

● Uber and Lyft’s business model of exploiting workers takes another loss in court:

Drivers for Uber and Lyft won a key victory on Tuesday in their continuing effort to be treated like other workers when a federal judge in New York ruled that the state must promptly begin paying them unemployment benefits.

Many drivers have waged a long legal and political battle with the companies over their employment status. Uber and Lyft have maintained that drivers are independent contractors who are not entitled to standard employment protections, such as a minimum wage, overtime pay and unemployment insurance.

● Maine shipbuilders bring the hammer down to reject concessions.

● If “cancel culture” is about getting fired, let’s cancel at-will employment, Moshe Z. Marvit and Shaun Richman write:

In the debate between a right to your job and the need to de-platform bigots, some have raised concerns that without the boss’s right to fire an employee for any reason, racists and sexists would get more of a free pass at work. But this argument misses what “just cause” means. It doesn’t mean that employees cannot be fired, it means they can’t be fired for a reason that’s not related to work. Racism, sexism, harassment and other forms of conduct in and out of the workplace that make other employees feel unsafe and violate policies around respect and equity are grounds for discipline and termination—but are also subject to due process. When you look at how “just cause” plays out in areas where it exists—in the public sector, under many union contracts, or in other countries—it’s clear that racists, sexists and harassers are, in fact, disciplined.

● Low pay and high risk at the nail salon, Michelle Chen reports.

Mariwvey said she works from about 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., six days a week, and earns about $11 an hour. Others make even less. “A lot of salons will pay workers $80 a day for eight hours of work,” she said, “and that’s standard.” She and her coworkers have tried to press their boss to pay the legal minimum wage, she said, unsuccessfully so far. “We know that we should be getting [at least] $15 an hour with our tips, and we have spoken with her, and she just has told us that she’s going to think about it.”

 

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