NLRB Ruling: Your Boss Can’t Force You to Be Happy at Work

CWA Union | May 19 2016

Another big win at T-Mobile US! The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has ruled that two more rules in T-Mobile’s employee handbook are illegal: a prohibition on recordings in the workplace and forcing employees to maintain a “positive work environment.”

The decision builds on the NLRB’s landmark, consolidated ruling that T-Mobile maintained unlawful policies that blocked workers from organizing or even talking to each other about problems on the job. In March of 2015, Judge Christine Dibble found 11 of the 13 handbook rules challenged by CWA to be unfair labor practices. The union appealed the decision on the remaining two items.

This month, the NLRB affirmed Dibble’s findings and ruled in the union’s favor, noting that every issue CWA disputed in the company handbook was a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

The victory against requiring workers to maintain a “positive” attitude has generated some funny headlines:

Hell Yeah, You Can Bitch on the Job!
Hate Your Job? It’s Illegal For Your Boss To Force You To Act Happy

Go Ahead and Scowl — Your Boss Can’t Fire You

And the issue even made it into Stephen Colbert’s monologue!

Illinois has zero private-sector jobs growth in the 21st century

ILL Policy | May 10 2016
Illinois is one of four states in the entire U.S. to have fewer private sector jobs today compared to the turn of the century.
Illinois has not had a net gain in private-sector job opportunities in nearly 17 years. In January 2000, Illinois had 5,176,800 private-sector jobs. As of March 2016, the most recent month of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Illinois had just 5,175,900 private-sector jobs.

Prop 1 fails, Uber and Lyft to leave Austin proper tomorrow

USA Today | Mar 8 2016

Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft plan to suspend service indefinitely Monday in Austin after voters in Texas’ tech hub failed to adopt a ballot measure that would have allowed them greater self regulation.

In a dispute that could play out in other cities, Uber and Lyft say new rules required on them in the Austin area, including fingerprinting of drivers, makes its hard for them to continue to follow their business models. The pullback becomes a de facto victory for the taxicab industry, which has seen ride-sharing services turn their business on its ear around the country. Uber said it would cease operations in Austin at 8 a.m. CT.

KXAN | May 8 2016

Pro-Hillary Democratic Consultants Sign Up to Defeat Single Payer in Colorado

The Intercept | May 3 2016

Influential democratic consultants, some of whom work for the Super PACs backing Hillary Clinton, have signed up to fight a bold initiative to create a state-based single-payer system in Colorado, according to a state filing posted Monday.

Coloradans for Coloradans, an ad-hoc group opposing single payer in Colorado, revealed that it raised $1 million over the first five months of this year. The group was formed to defeat Amendment 69, the ballot measure before voters this year that would change the Colorado constitution and permit a system that would automatically cover every state resident’s health care.

Seth Meyers praises Colorado for going single payer
RawStory | May 3 2015

Trump’s new national finance director worked for Goldman and Soros; Donated to Clinton and Obama

Twitchy | May 5 2016
Donald Trump named Steven Mnuchin, Chairman and CEO of private investment firm Dune Capital Management LP, as his national finance chairman today.
Previously, Mnuchin was a partner at Goldman Sachs and he’s linked to George Soros.

Trump Names Former Goldman Partner, Soros Money Manager As Finance Chairman
Daily Caller | May 5 2016

Does a higher min. wage mean higher prices?

Salon | Apr 26 2016

Raise wages, they say, and businesses will have to raise prices. But researchers concluded “preliminary analysis of grocery, retail, gasoline, and rent prices has found little or no evidence of price increases in Seattle relative to the surrounding areas.”

Perhaps the fact that workers will have more to spend will blunt any impact from higher labor costs. Perhaps lower turnover and increased worker productivity will absorb those costs. Perhaps people in wealthy towns like Seattle will gladly pay for higher prices if they ever come. Perhaps employers will replace line workers with robots. Perhaps the entire system will go kablooey.

The UW researchers plan a second round of surveys, price studies, and data analysis this year and next, and will incorporate studies of Chicago, where the wage will rise to $13 an hour by 2019, into their findings.

So far, it’s a big nothing-burger for the economy, while workers get lifted ever more out of poverty.

Texas Cities See Crime Rates Dropping

Texas Tribune | Apr 22 2016

With an almost 10 percent drop in its crime rate, Austin saw the sharpest decrease in Texas and the nation. “Austin is just a safe city,” said Lt. Justin Newsom of the Austin Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit. “It has its moments where bad things happen, obviously, but overall, with the population growth that we’ve had, we’ve been real fortunate.” The city’s murder rate also had the largest decline, falling 33 percent while the average murder rate of all 30 cities in the study grew, the report states.

In the 30 largest cities in the country overall, the report found, the rate of violent crimes rose by 3 percent and the murder rate grew by 13 percent. In Texas, violent crime remained steady and the murder rate decreased more than 1 percent. The national increase in murders was attributed mainly to rises in Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

In Texas and in the nation, crime spiked in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The national crime rate is now half of what it was in 1990, and almost a quarter less than it was at the turn of the century, according to the report.

Prescription meds get trapped in disturbing pee-to-food-to-pee loop

Ars Technica | Apr 20 2016

Researchers found that anticonvulsive epilepsy drug carbamazepine, which is released in urine, can accumulate in crops irrigated with recycled water—treated sewage—and end up in the urine of produce-eaters not on the drugs. The study, published Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology, is the first to validate the long-held suspicion that pharmaceuticals may get trapped in infinite pee-to-food-to-pee loops, exposing consumers to drug doses with unknown health effects.

Previous studies have found a variety of drugs in crops, including cholesterol medications, caffeine, and triclosan.

declare intentions, explore everyday, believe nothing.