Earlier this week, the White House hosted a Summit on Worker Voice, welcoming organizers from more traditional labor groups, such as unions, as well as voices from new worker movements, such as Fight for $15. At the summit, President Obama spoke about wages, the power of collective action and the growing “gig” economy.
Americans with lower incomes and educational attainment often live shorter, sicker lives than their wealthier, more educated counterparts. Contributors to these disparities can include access to care, hazardous living conditions, nutrition in early childhood, and personal behaviors. But what about workplace conditions? Do certain groups of people get sorted into jobs that exacerbate inequalities in life expectancy?
Anyone who’s lived in a big, dense city is familiar with the sight of bicycle messengers weaving their way in between metro buses and taxi cabs, down side streets and around packed crosswalks, pedaling at impressive speeds and often with remarkable agility. Surprisingly, however, there’s little data on these workers, even though it seems they’d be particularly susceptible to injuries on the job.
US farmworkers, many of whom move from state to state following crops, will now have better access to information about the pesticides used at the farms where they work. Among other things, a new EPA rule will require employers to provide annual pesticide-hazard training to farmworkers.
Former employees at the Blue Bell ice cream plant in Texas report dangerous work conditions; federal health researchers announce new study of oil field workers; Democrats propose new labor rights legislation; and North Dakota legislators announce efforts to hold big oil companies responsible for worker deaths.