After a majority of Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members voted Sunday not to return to schools for in-person instruction, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials announced their planned return date would be pushed back to Wednesday to allow more time for negotiations between the district and the union. A recent release has stated that CTU voted to authorize all rank-and-file educators in Chicago Public Schools to move to remote learning beginning Monday. CTU said 86% of its members participated in the vote Sunday, with 71% voting to continue remote learning. CPS contends that by not returning to in-person learning that CTU is engaging in a "decision to strike" and is in direct violation of its collective bargaining agreement. However, CTU asserts that its vote was based on "unsafe" working conditions and is not comparable to a work stoppage as teachers will still conduct classes remotely.
See "CPS Pushes Start Date For Teachers to Return For In-Person Instruction", NBC Chicago, January 25, 2021
According to a legal filing on Friday, Tesla is suing a former employee and software engineer named Alex Khatilov alleging trade secret theft and breach of contract. The complaint filed by Tesla says that Khatilov uploaded code used in the company’s backend software system, WARP drive, to manage a wide range of business processes. The lawsuit also alleges that Khatilov deleted possible evidence when confronted by security teams. The case is significant as it highlights a trend of Tesla suing former employees who pursued career opportunities at other electric and autonomous vehicle businesses, Rivian and Zoox, over alleged theft of intellectual property.
See Lora Kolodny, "Tesla sues former employee for allegedly stealing software code", CNBC News , January 25, 2021
In February workers at an Amazon factory in Bessemer, Alabama will vote on whether to unionize or not. The unionization effort is the largest and most viable effort to unionize Amazon since 2014. This specific unionization effort unique as its location is not a union stronghold like New York or Michigan, instead its taking place in the right-to-work state of Alabama. Last summer in the height of the pandemic, workers at the Bessemer Amazon factory became fed up with labor practices and the way the online retailer tracked employee productivity. This prompted workers to contact an organizer in the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. As the vote draws nearer, Amazon management is increasingly insisting that the vote must be held in-person. This has sparked concerns over COVID-19 precautions.
See Michael Corkery and Karen Weise, "Amazon Union Drive Takes Hold in Unlikely Place", The New York Times, January 25, 2021
As many Americans scramble to receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, some healthcare workers are refusing to take the vaccine. A recent survey found that many healthcare workers feel that the vaccine may have been rushed. The rates of uncertainty increase when considering intersectionality.
See Megan Cerullo, "Many Healthcare Workers are Refusing to get a COVID-19 Vaccine ", CBS News, January 19, 2021
Leaders from some of the nation's top historically Black colleges and universities plan to meet virtually with Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The meeting was called to discuss the future relationship between HBCUs and google, in the wake of racism and sexism allegations made by two Black former employees. In December, ex-Google artificial intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru and former Google diversity recruiter April Curley both tweeted that they had been fired by the company after raising concerns about the lack of Black people working there and how those who currently work there are treated. Google contends that Gebru voluntarily resigned.
See Chauncey Alcorn, "Google CEO to meet with Black college leaders following racism allegations", CNN Business, January 19, 2021
A technology company in eastern China designed “smart” cushions and gave them to its employees for their office chairs as part of a product study. The cushions were designed to monitor employee health. One of the key areas that the smart cushions monitored was posture. Analysis of employee posture was used to determine whether employees were possibly fatigued. However, the smart cushion also gave managers to other insightful data that revealed employee heart rates, and calculated the total number of minutes spent at work stations, length of breaks, and frequency of breaks. The smart cushions have raised questions about privacy and transparency in the workplace, and set off an online debate about the boundaries of corporate surveillance.
See Tiffany May and Amy Chang Chien, "Slouch or Slack Off, This ‘Smart’ Office Chair Cushion Will Record It", The New York Times, January 15, 2021
According to a newly filed petition with the National Labor Relations Board, Amazon may see it's first union in the company's history next month. The petition centers around approximately 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama that will vote on the unionization effort next month. The petition filed by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, is asking to represent the approximately 6,000 employees who work at Amazon's facility in Bessemer, Alabama. All workers will receive their ballots on February 8. Voters must return their ballots by March 29. Ballot counting will be held on a video conferencing platform and will begin on March 30.
See Katie Canales, "Nearly 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama will vote next month on forming the first union in the company's history", Business Insider , January 15, 2021
As Canadian provinces struggle to contain rising COVID-19 infections, many doctors and advocates point to a lack of adequate paid sick leave for front-line workers being a major contributing factor. While political leaders and health officials advise sick people to stay home, many people can’t afford to. Particularly this issue is prevalent for workers of long-term care facilities that are often part-time and lack substantial benefits.
See Anna Mehler Paperny, "As Canada battles rising COVID-19 cases, lack of sick leave fuels transmission", Reuters, January 14, 2021
Dropbox, announced on Wednesday that it is cutting its global workforce by about 11%. The company’s stock was down more than 4.5% in late-morning trading. The announcement will affect 315 people, who will be notified by the end of the business day. Dropbox has stated that the job cuts will aid in the company focusing on new priorities, such as evolving the core Dropbox experience, investing new products, and driving operational excellence.
See Jessica Bursztynsky, "Dropbox to cut 11% of its global workforce", CNBC, January 14, 2021
Cheerleaders are an integral aspect of the NFL game day experience. A new documentary, "A Woman's Work: The NFL's Cheerleader Problem," exposes the underbelly of a seemingly glamorous pursuit and follows the lives of two women who decided to stand up against their teams. Former cheerleader Lacy Thibodeaux-Fields, a Raiderette, was the first to speak out. She filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the Raiderettes against the then Oakland Raiders in 2014. The lawsuit alleged wage theft and illegal employment practices. In response, many other cheerleaders followed suit such as Maria Pinzone, a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Buffalo Bills and the NFL in 2014.
See Ben Church , "'If I would have known then what I know now, I would have never stepped foot in the NFL'", CNN Business, January 14, 2021