Unions are a reaction to poor working conditions, and it’s clear that some Silicon Valley companies have created the need for unions. Google, which has been actively suppressing workers who stand up against injustices are now seeing their workers unionize. This is a symbolic victory for the labour movement in the tech world and a clear success for the people working at Google.
From afar it looks like the tech unions in the States are going to be modelling themselves more like the Screen Actors Guild than the more popular conception of unions like those at auto plants.
“This is historic—the first union at a major tech company by and for all tech workers,” Dylan Baker, a Google software engineer, said in a statement.
“We will elect representatives, we will make decisions democratically, we will pay dues, and we will hire skilled organizers to ensure all workers at Google know they can work with us if they actually want to see their company reflect their values.”
Google workers have some history of collective action. In 2018, thousands of the workers signed a petition protesting Project Maven, a contract to help the Department of Defense track individuals in video footage captured by drones. That pressure campaign was ultimately successful, as the contract was terminated.
If you want to be a good boss please don’t interrupt your workers. If you are coworkers, please don’t interrupt each other. A recent study has shown that we physically react to stress in the workplace cause by interruptions. We can use this nugget of knowledge to create workplaces which don’t increase people’s stress by basically respecting one’s work time.
If you have had a bad boss, I’m sure you can relate to this. Let’s all remember to give people their space.
“Most research into workplace interruptions carried out to date focused only on their effect on performance and productivity. Our study shows for the first time that they also affect the level of cortisol a person releases, in other words they actually influence a person’s biological stress response.”
What surprised the researchers were participants’ subjective responses in terms of how they perceived psychological stress. They observed that participants in the second stress group, who were interrupted by chat messages, reported being less stressed and in a better mood than the participants in the first stress group, who didn’t have these interruptions. Interestingly, although the two groups rated the situation as equally challenging, the second group found it less threatening.
The economy isn’t performing too well right now thanks to years of thoughtless growth followed by the hit of COVID-19. The people most hurt by the COVID-19 crisis are the most vulnerable. It’s been widely reported on how women have lost a lot of gains made in the workplace as the “traditional” household roles are now being put back on them. We can do better, and we know how to do better than this.
The previous decade of growth was made at the expense of the environment and people’s wellbeing, the current reboot of the economy doesn’t need to be thoughtless. This time around we can generate economic growth that includes everybody.
YWCA Canada and The Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management have partnered to create a Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada, which proposes a new path forward for Canada’s economy – one that focuses on changing the structures and barriers that have made some groups more vulnerable to the pandemic and its fallout than others. The report highlights 8 pillars for recovery with a focus on supporting the care economy, investing in social infrastructure and supporting women-owned businesses.
Today at Collision conference Shaquille O’Neal made an appearance to promote Steady, a company that wants to help working Americans get a steady financial life. The company was founded by Adam Roseman a few years ago with the goal of making life more predictable for the average American. As nearly everyone knows, inequality has been increasing since the last recession and now companies like Steady are looking to stop that growth. Their platform helps people find work while also learning how to budget and other financial bits of wisdom.
Growing up in a single-parent home, Roseman saw first hand the daily financial struggles many Americans face. The vision for Steady came to Roseman after seeing the plight of his recently retired father. Like many Americans, his father found he didn’t have enough retirement savings and needed to work part-time to make ends meet. Roseman stepped in, suggesting his father look for flexible work opportunities that fit his needs, availability and interests. And through Steady, Roseman and his team hope to help millions more.
Before the pandemic too many people spent too much of the time working instead of living. Now, the opposite is true with employers in North America firing people left and right because companies didn’t save a rainy day fund. Indeed, some companies aren’t paying rent and getting away with it (unlike individuals). Maybe there’s a way to save jobs and our mental health. If we went down to a four day workweek we could see an increase in productivity in some jobs, while in other jobs it could open the door for more employment.
“The pandemic has created a moment for businesses to take stock and consider more radical reconstructions of the workplace. It is a time for experimentation and a reevaluation of what it means to be productive,” said Andrew Barnes, author of “The 4 Day Week” and co-founder of the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global. Barnes has emerged as a global ambassador of sorts for a four-day workweek, since switching his own New Zealand-based firm onto that schedule back in 2018 and finding it improved productivity and morale.
“By focusing on productivity and output rather than time spent in a workplace, the four-day week allows for better work-life balance, improved employee satisfaction, retention and mental health,” he said.