Welcome back to this roundup of labor news from the United States. The following years will be dominated by industrial policy, as the EU and now the UK are racing to match the generous investment package pushed forward by the US.
The EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton was present this week in DC, signing a joint AI roadmap with the US. Not only that, but Breton pointed out that the tax subsidies offered by Joe Biden will drive European investment out of the continent.
The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced plans for a similar bill to match that of the Americans.
From The Atlantic: “And Biden wants to use his leverage to create high-paying unionized jobs. He intends to pressure CEOs so that they don’t furtively funnel government money into stock buybacks. Even though the public doesn’t have this impression of Biden, he actually gravitates to the weeds. Obsessing over small details allows him to feel a sense of mastery of big processes.”
A different type of bar
Hospitality looks different across the ocean: a waiter often comes to your table to check on you, to make sure the food is what you expected and themed-restaurants are everywhere. Sports bars where servers, predominantly women (if not entirely), dress in minuscule clothing have developed a name for themselves: breastaurants. In 2019, Burgers & Beer, had to pay $150K penalty for hiring only female waitstaff.
In 2015, a HuffPost article showed that while the overall restaurant industry was struggling, breastaurants were growing in size and number, implementing theme-days in order to attract customers. Twin Peaks, a breastaurant chain, has a lingerie day in which the serving staff must dress in matching undergarments.
Research from the University of Tennessee points to array of mental health issues and self-esteem problems that servers at breastaurants are facing. In an environment where objectification of your body is the selling point, and you are reduced to your mere appearance, one’s self-image suffers.
Once again, Twin Peaks came into the public’s attention when workers went on strike on the 14th of January, protesting the racist and sexist manager. They allege that the manager is stealing their tips, while also refusing to pay overtime.
Union in wrestling
The world of wrestling entertainment has dominated in the past decades by the giant WWE, once controlled by Vince McMahon, a businessman close to the Trump family. Last year, he resigned after allegations of sexual misconduct and infidelity surfaced.
Even though he was absent for half a year, he is now back on the board of directors and is already looking for a potential buyer of the company. The wrestling empire has been built on the backs of workers that perform as independent contractors who often perform as full-time employees but do not get benefits as such.
The company has developed a reputation of fighting organized labor and when one of their wrestlers, Zelina Vega, announced publicly that they support unionization, WWE let go of her shortly after. Not everyone is in favor of unionization amongst the pro wrestlers, with some outrightly claiming that having a union will destroy their jobs.
“A union would protect the wrestlers from a man who uses their bodies to earn billions. There are no downsides to this and something needs to be done. They get away with murder there, and it’s beyond unfortunate the talent as a whole get treated how they do.” – Ryback, a former WWE superstar
More labor news
Pilots at Delta and Southwest are negotiating new contracts right now. The pilots at Southwest expressed concern about the future of the airline.
The Transportation Department is finally investigating the meltdown that occurred at Southwest Airlines a month ago that stranded more than a million passengers over the holidays.
University of Washington librarians and publishing workers went on strike on the 24th, fighting against staff shortages and pushing the administration to offer them living wages. A similar strike took place on October 13 2022, but without clear results.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not recovered from Trump slashing their jobs by 1200.
Bankers do not like their bonuses being cut, even though the cost-cutting rhetoric is like a Bible to their profession. Goldman Sachs made the news for missing the profit estimates which led to its CEO, David Solomon, taking a pay cut of 29%. In 2021 he was paid $35 million.
Adani Enterprises’s Guatam Adani is under fire because of Hindenburg Research that accuse him of dodgy accounting practices that inflated the share prices of his firms. After Hindenburg Research accused Adani Enterprises of fraud, $50bn were wiped from the value of the company. Its share value fell by 17%, but the firm proceeded to sell share raising $2.5bn.
Photo: WWE is known for resistance to unionization (source: YouTube)