Paid family leave is becoming law in Washington state. The state legislature passed and Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a law giving workers up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for birth, adoption, or the worker’s own or a family member’s medical condition, and up to 16 weeks in a year:
The Washington state program would benefit low-wage workers because those earning less than half of the state’s weekly average would receive 90 percent of their income—to a maximum of $1,000 per week. The benefits are based on a percentage of the worker’s average weekly wage and the state’s weekly average wage, which was $1,133 in 2016.
The program is largely funded by workers, who will pay a premium of 0.4 percent of their wages each paycheck into a state-run insurance fund. This would cost a minimum-wage worker about 3 cents an hour, according to the bill’s sponsor. Employers are responsible for picking up at least 55 percent of the medical leave premium—or more if they choose to do so.
“This new law is an affordable and predictable solution to providing an important benefit for life’s emergencies,” Sara Reilly, co-owner of Darby’s Café and Three Magnets Brewing Co. in Olympia, Washington, said in a statement.
How’s that for a much-needed piece of good news? But of course every time a state or city passes a minimum wage increase, paid sick leave, or paid family leave, it’s a reminder of how far short our federal laws fall, and how much of a fight we have to elect Democrats to Congress and the presidency before we can change this.
● Did Uber stiff New York drivers for hundreds of millions of dollars? The explanation is pretty technical but Noam Scheiber makes a really good case that the answer is yes.
● Massachusetts is considering legislation to pay adjunct professors fairly. Lobbyists for colleges are screaming about affordability, which is something you hear them talking about much less when the topic is how many hundreds of thousands of dollars the college president should be paid vs. whether the adjuncts who teach many of the classes should be paid so little they qualify for food stamps.
● Who is Wilbur Ross? (He’s the commerce secretary. But who was he before he took that job?)
● Reminder: Education is not a damn marketplace.
● Diane Ravitch on the absurdity of applying industrial lingo to schools:
One of the reasons that corporate reformers want to put kids on computers is that they think this is the way to standardize and replicate and scale up “success,” even though sitting in front of a computer for several hours a day is not what most parents or educators think of as good education.
What they don’t understand is that there are areas of life that are not susceptible to industrial processes.
Can we scale up good families? We know what a good family looks like. Why can’t we make every family look like that? Can we scale up churches? Churches may grow into mega churches, but every church is different, even if they use the same Scripture and liturgy.
We cannot scale up great orchestras. A string quartet will always require four musicians, and there is no way to implement cost savings, or get productivity gains (this is known as Baumol’s Effect). Reformers themselves want their children to have a human teacher with a small class, the smaller the better. But when they think of “scaling up,” they look for mechanical replacements for humans, to cut costs.
Wherever creativity is required, wherever human interactions matter, scaling up remains elusive because it is an industrial process, not a human one.
We have many examples of excellent schools in the public and private sector, and they are very different from each other.
● The next Operation Dixie: Sarah Jaffe talks to experienced organizers about how to move forward in the South.
● Jaffe also talked class war with Daniel Denvir.
● Four things Betsy DeVos doesn't want you to know about education tax credits.
● If Ben & Jerry's is progressive, why won't it protect its farmworkers?
● Workers Independent News: