Some employees didn’t even look up from their monitors when a 42-year-old man tasked with purging Facebook of prohibited content died suddenly of a heart attack at his desk, according to a Verge investigation into a key company tasked with moderating Facebook content. Managers of the Facebook contractor Cognizant then allegedly prohibited employees from discussing the death at work for fear it would hamper productivity, according to the report.
Ford Motor Co. said on Monday it will eliminate about 10% of its global salaried workforce, cutting about 7,000 jobs by the end of August as part of its larger restructuring effort. “To succeed in our competitive industry, and position Ford to win in a fast-changing future, we must reduce bureaucracy, empower managers, speed decision making, focus on the most valuable work, and cut costs,” said Ford CEO Jim Hackett.
U.S. employers are being alerted to the names of potential undocumented workers on their staff as part of a new measure by the Trump administration. The Social Security Administration has sent “no-match letters” to more than 570,000 employers in various industries over the last two months. The letters, which alert companies to workers whose names do not match their Social Security numbers, is expected to result in lost jobs for thousands of undocumented workers.
Uber and Lyft drivers plan to strike Wednesday in major cities around the globe in opposition to Uber’s upcoming Wall Street debut. The drivers are striking for livable incomes, job security, and regulated fares, among other demands.
Social Security’s costs are expected to exceed its income in 2020 for the first time since 1982, forcing the program to dip into its nearly $3 trillion trust fund to cover benefits. By 2035, the trust funds for both Social Security and Medicare will be depleted, and Social Security will no longer be able to pay its full scheduled benefits unless Congress steps in to shore up the program.
A coming technological disruption is hard to see now, but economists say that, without aggressive measures, the financial inequality that underlies current political turbulence will widen.
In a year that has already seen 2,400 media jobs eliminated, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer on Monday laid off 14 newsroom employees, most of them reporters, as part of a staff reduction. The Plain Dealer had a unionized staff of 340 journalists just two decades ago; that soon will be reduced to 33. The cuts were blamed on the continuing decline in advertising revenue that has battered virtually all mass media.
The booming economy isn’t touching all corners of the country, and farmers in particular are facing a very different economic reality than the strong economic growth and low unemployment rates elsewhere. Downturns in farming are normal and almost expected, which is why farmers are structured to ride these waves out, but when the waves are this long the task becomes almost impossible.
Taiwanese company Foxconn will start construction of its Wisconsin facility this summer and start production there by the end of next year. Wisconsin offered $4 billion in state and local tax incentives to Foxconn in 2017 to build the plant in the state. It became a major issue in the 2018 governor’s race between Republican Scott Walker and Tony Evers, the Democratic candidate who criticized the deal. Evers defeated Walker, but has not pulled out of the package since taking office.
Donald Trump was angry this weekend, but apparently not so much at the terrorist who killed 50 Muslims in New Zealand on Friday. White House reporter Stephen Collinson writes: “In a stunning display of personal grievances aired on Twitter, Trump demanded the return of a supportive Fox News host who was missing from her usual spot on Saturday after verbally attacking an American Muslim lawmaker. He escalated his beyond-the-grave feud with late Sen. John McCain. He complained at being lampooned by NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Trump also fulminated against the Russia investigation and ‘Radical Left Democrats’ and took shots at an Ohio union boss.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burnished her socialist cred with a speech at the South by Southwest conference this weekend. According to Ocasio-Cortez, “corporations have already taken over our government.” She also said capitalism is “irredeemable” because of the “concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit.” The speech leaned in to a recent tweet in which she wrote, “Workers are often paid far less than the value they create,” which echoes Marx’s Labour Theory of Value. Yikes.
Born and married into wealth — and given a cushy job in her father’s real-estate company, the only place she ever worked before the White House — Ivanka Trump said, “I don’t think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something. … People want to work for what they get. So, I think that this idea of a guaranteed minimum is not something most people want.” Not necessarily a bad message, just the wrong messenger.
It’s not just about money. Urban, rural, suburban, red, blue, and purple, American teachers from across the U.S. have been on strike. They’ve gone on strike in Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland, and throughout West Virginia. They walked out in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. They’ve rallied in Georgia and Virginia. Salaries and benefits are important, of course, but other key issues include school infrastructure, class size, and charter schools.
Sears will stay in business. A federal bankruptcy court judge approved Chairman Edward Lampert’s plan to buy the iconic American retailer, which has struggled to stay afloat in recent years. The $5.2 billion purchase will ensure that tens of thousands of Sears employees keep their jobs.
Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith writes: “The U.S.’s failure to identify and nurture talented poor and minority students is undoubtedly hurting the country’s productivity, but it’s also deeply unfair. The U.S. scores relatively low compared to European countries in measures of relative mobility — the chance that someone who grows up in the lower-income percentiles will make it into the top group. Combined with the data on college completion, this naturally raises the concern that the U.S. education and employment systems are turning the country into a hereditary caste society.”
“The forecast of an America where robots do all the work while humans live off some yet-to-be-invented welfare program may be a Silicon Valley pipe dream. But automation is changing the nature of work, flushing workers without a college degree out of productive industries, like manufacturing and high-tech services, and into tasks with meager wages and no prospect for advancement.”
General Motors will begin laying off 4,000 employees on Monday, as it had announced in November. The company is eliminating 15 percent of its corporate workers and 25 percent of its executives, and closing as many as four U.S. manufacturing plants to reduce costs and expenses by $6 billion before the end of 2020. Some attribute auto-industry difficulties to recent tariffs put in place by the Trump administration. GM has said regulations on foreign steel and aluminum cost it $1 billion.
The McClatchy Company has become the latest media company to cut staff, as it offered buyouts on Friday to roughly 10 percent of its employees at the 29 newspapers it owns across the U.S. Vice Media, BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Mic also have made or announced staff cuts recently. Many critics blame Facebook and Google because of their dominance of the digital ad market.
Senators Amy Klobuchar and Ben Sasse introduced bipartisan legislation that would help equip American workers with skills and training for the 21st century economy. The Skills Investment Act of 2019 would expand Coverdell Education Savings Accounts — tax-advantaged savings accounts for educational expenses — so American workers could use the accounts to pay for skills training, apprenticeships, and professional development.
Six members from IBEW Local 98, including leader John Dougherty and Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon, have been indicted following a 30-month-long federal probe. The indictment alleges that Dougherty and co-defendants conspired to embezzle union funds their own personal benefit and to benefit their families, friends, and their commercial businesses. They face decades in prison.
Nearly 1,000 hotel workers at the Sheraton Park resort and Hilton hotel in Anaheim are on the verge of walking off the job, continuing a wave of hotel strikes that occurred at the end of 2018 across the U.S. At the end of last year, 8,000 Marriott hotel workers went on strike in eight U.S. cities for nine weeks, making it the largest hotel strike in U.S. history.
After a week-long strike that saw tens of thousands of teachers marching in downtown Los Angeles and a marathon round of negotiating over the holiday weekend, L.A. public school teachers reached a tentative deal with school officials on Tuesday that includes a 6% pay raise and caps on class sizes. The city and county also will fund expanded services, including hiring more student support staff, in the country’s second largest school district.