A new study reveals that gaining and keeping employment for Gen X workers is increasingly hard. The survey consisted of 3,800 unemployed and employed people and 1,404 hiring managers. Those born between 1965 and 1980, Gen X, view age as a large hurtle to employment. 71% of the 45+ year old people surveyed believe their age is an obstacle and employers generally view them as having weaker skills than younger candidates. 57% of Gen X workers also express reluctance to receiving additional training while 3 out of 4 employers feel that training provides necessary experience and skills.
See Mela Seyoum, "‘Tragedy of today’s employment landscaper’: Gen X workers hit hardest by jobs crisis amid COVID-19", USA Today, July 27, 2021
Walmart has announced that they will be paying full college tuition and book costs for US workers at select schools. The company will drop their previous $1 a day fee for enrollment, begin covering the cost of books, and add 4 new academic partners to the existing program. Walmart says that workers who participate in the program are “twice as likely to get promoted and are retained at a significantly higher rate.” Employees must work with Walmart part-time or full-time to be eligible and can attend any of the 10 partner schools.
See Nathaniel Meyersohn, "Walmart will cover full college tuition and books for its workers at some schools", CNN, July 27, 2021
After a 10-year battle, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that Amazon warehouse workers must be paid for time spent in mandatory security checks after each shift. The court ruled, in a majority opinion, that the state’s wage law overruled the federal law that the US Supreme Court used to decide on a similar case in 2014. Over 42,000 workers will split $8.67 million of Amazon’s $13.5 million settlement, with the highest payout of a single employee being $5,760 thus far. Amazon argues that “employees are only paid for their labor…not to stand at a security checkpoint.”
See Hannah Towey, "Amazon is paying $8.6 million to workers to settle a decade-long lawsuit over not paying them for time spent", Business Insider, July 27, 2021
Ending a nearly 3-week strike, Frito-Lay plant workers in Topeka have ratified a new contract and will return to work on Monday. The contract will give all union members a guaranteed one day off each week and a 4% raise over two years. The contract will allow the company to rebid the facility once during the contract. Committees will be formed to make recommendations on staffing and overtime and the re-bid process.
See "Strike at Frito-Lay ends as union members ratify contract", The Associated Press, July 26, 2021
Foundation Food Group and its associated companies face fines and scores of citations following the death of six workers and injuries of a dozen in a nitrogen accident. On January 28th, a freezer using nitrogen had a gas leak causing injury, death, and severe freezer burns to the Georgia chicken plant workers. The company is looking at 59 citations and $1 million in fines. Labor secretary Marty Walsh says the accident was entirely preventable. A spokesman for the company told the Washington Post it intends to fight the citations and fines.
See Rich Mckay, "After six workers deaths at Georgia chicken plant, U.S. issues $1 million in fines", Reuters, July 26, 2021
With the new delta variant, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says that a voluntary system for COVID-19 vaccinations has reached its limit. He is set to announce a vaccination-or-test mandate to all NYC workers. The over 300,000 workers will be expected to either show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly testing in two phases. Employees at publicly run residential or congregate care facilities will have a deadline of August 16th and all other city employees will have until September 13th. The Mayor will also encourage private employers to establish vaccination policies before returning to offices.
See Nolan Hicks, "De Blasio to expand COVID vaccine-or-test mandate to all city workers", New York Post, July 26, 2021
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the NLRB’s finding that Mondelez Global LLC violated the National Labor Relations Act. In 2016 after the current union agreement expired, the relationship with Mondelez deteriorated because of disputes about overtime and unilateral changes to working conditions. Meanwhile, Mondelez opened an investigation into excessive overtime and as a result fired 3 employees involved in union activity for supposed time theft. The 7th Circuit said that “Mondelez's abrupt abandonment of the investigation once the three workers had been terminated was sufficient evidence of anti-union animus.”
See Daniel Wiessner, "Snack maker’s firing of union officials was illegal – 7th Circuit", Reuters, July 23, 2021
The two biggest state employee unions in Minnesota have reached agreements with Governor Walz’s administration. These agreements would give workers a 2.5% wage increase the next 2 years, add Juneteenth as a paid holiday, and keep health care premiums stable. Over 33,000 workers will be impacted by these agreements. Union members will vote on the agreements over the next 6 weeks.
See "Labor agreements reached for thousands of state employees", The Associated Press, July 23, 2021
Sufferers of long-term COVID-19 symptoms are feeling negative impacts in their work life and mental health. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 10 people who get COVID-19 could suffer long term symptoms. Data from a UK government report uncovered that 44% of people who reported long-term symptoms felt that it affected their ability to do their job. 25% of them also say they feel like they have no one to talk to about their condition.
See Stephen Jones, "Long COVID poses a subtle workplace crisis as sufferers say they’re working longer hours and feel more stressed", Business Insider, July 23, 2021
This week, the Worker Power Coalition of more than 40 progressive unions have united to pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The PRO Act was passed in the House in April and is sitting before the Senate. The PRO Act would financially penalize employers who violate union rights, ban employer anti-union meetings, and put a stop to gig worker misclassification, among other things. This month the Biden administration has indicated the PRO Act as a top priority.
See Lauren Gurley, "This Is the Best Chance in Generations to Pass Pro-Worker Legislation", Vice, July 22, 2021