On a very special episode of This Week in Worker Conquests: an unhinged writer recaps labor news you’ve been too distracted to catch this week because you’re so freakin’ AMPED about RIHANNA performing at the SUPER BOWL this Sunday. Listen: I get it! Let’s get into it!

Our awful weekly “Layoff Recap” segment: Let’s get through the tough stuff so we can get into the Conquests. Disney is laying off 7,000 workers so it can pay its investors dividends. A few days ago, Boeing proudly announced it will hire 10,000 people this year (yay!) and then turned around and cut 2,000 jobs, outsourcing around one-third of them to India. Yahoo is laying off over 1,600. Microsoft is laying off another 617 in our region. GitHub is laying off around 300 and going fully remote. These layoffs, especially from companies boasting high profits, smell pretty fishy to me. 

Ditch the grindset: Amid all these layoffs, everybody’s talking work-life balance. Why do we spend our lives doing work we’d rather not do for companies who don’t care? On the podcast Factually! (Apple, Spotify) author Oliver Burkeman argues that work doesn’t matter. He adds that your to-do list is never gonna get done, so you may as well relax.

Save something for yourself: On Off-Kilter (Apple, Spotify), author Sarah Jaffe discussed how much of our lives (and souls) are taken up by modern work: “You didn’t have to smile at a car when it went past you on the assembly line. You didn’t have to smile at the coal while you were digging it out of the ground.” The ep is full of bangers like that.

Amazon workers say layoff process “lacked empathy”: The Seattle Times spoke to 15 Amazon employees who were caught up in the company’s 18,000-person layoff wave, and they are justifiably feeling less than warm and fuzzy about the ordeal.

TikToker Nicole James said for those recently laid off, this is your wake up call:

@nicolejames356 #techcompany #techlayoffs #theaudacityofmen #techjobs ♬ original sound - Nicole James


Port Commission to vote on drivers’ union benefits: On Tuesday, the Seattle Port Commission will vote on issues important to union taxi drivers at SeaTac. This new commission order will give drivers a stronger voice in technology changes, trip fees, and dispute resolution. Joshua Welter from Teamsters Local 117 said the union expects a positive vote, and drivers are grateful to the Commission for listening to their concerns. 

Trouble at Crossroads: More local intrigue. Sources at Crossroads Trading Co. say their first union contract negotiations are stalling and workers are considering their options. These sources say the “rainbow capitalists” at Crossroads are reportedly meeting workers’ demands on social issues but refusing to budge on wages and health care. This despite allegedly telling workers the store is #1 in sales IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY. Stay tuned, I’ll be following this one for sure:

Humans reject robot overlords: In his excellent newsletter, Galaxy Brain, Washington’s own Charlie Warzel says if the evangelists are right, then we will all soon need to be able to wrangle AI. But for now, the tech just isn’t ready. And Hamilton Nolan says it’ll never replace real journalism.

Rabble, rabble, rabble: The ruling class will replace as many of us with robots as it can because we make so much TROUBLE! Some of our rabble-rousing this week: NBC workers are on strike, Disney World workers rejected the company’s pathetic contract offer, UW postdocs are voting on whether to authorize a strike, striking Temple grad students are mad about a threat, and Starbucks workers are being a little uptight about *checks notes* working while they have COVID!

Super Bummer: Ahead of the Big Game this weekend, on TikTok a certain Leftist Punk Who Must Hate America reminded folks that NFL teams have been sued multiple times for paying their cheerleaders less than minimum wage:

@moreperfectunion @kaburbank explains pay disparities in the NFL before Super Bowl weekend. #workersrights #labormovement #unions #leftist #leftisttiktok #superbowl #football #cheer #cheerleading ♬ original sound - More Perfect Union

Mariners, do better: And apparently the Mooseperson doing backflips on the dugout and signing autographs for all the kids at Mariners games is only worth $20 per hour to the organization.

Mr. President: Biden gave a State of the Union address that continuously centered working people, talking about strengthening the middle class and making the rich pay their fair share. A very good speech, IMO:

But, of course, we still have a long way to go:

@lonzogambino Here’s a sample of what life is like being a black man in America 🙇🏾‍♂️ #fypシ #viral # #happyblackhistorymonth🖤 #karensgoingwild ♬ original sound - ZoDaUno 🥷🏾

Sprinting to stay on the treadmill: The Cut explored how the TV show Fleishman is in Trouble has sparked conversations about the effort it takes to hold onto social status.

Bust out the calendar! The Harry Bridges Center is hosting a free Zoom event Monday called “So You Want to Work in Labor?” Starbucks Workers United is organizing a leaflet action for Valentine’s Day on Tuesday. Pledge and print out leaflets here. Next Thursday, the University of Oregon Labor Education & Research Center is hosting a free event called Queer Career: Sexuality and Work in Modern America. They also just announced that they’ll host the Summer Institute for Union Women in Portland this June. 

 WHAT ELSE (sunshine edition): Jim Cramer is right: this is the moment for labor, and, no, our system should not penalize people climbing the ladder. We need to tax wealth! And we may soon. Republicans in Iowa and Ohio are trying to roll back child labor laws. Zillow says it now takes FOUR people working minimum wage full-time to afford a TWO-bedroom apartment in this country. A bill introduced in our State Legislature would ensure workers in prison are paid the state minimum wage. Bernie is calling Howard Schultz to the Capitol to grill him. And the decline in union membership sure ain’t because they’re broke. This week we saw NLRB election filings from Rudnick Electric Signs LLC in Canby, OR, the Seattle Humane Society in Bellevue, Student Transportation of America in Portland, Moovel North America LLC in Portland, and Sacred Heart Home Care Services in Eugene.

Keep ‘em coming: My tippers, my fine tippers. Thank you for reaching out with your leaks, your rumors, and your heads-ups. Another fine week of tipping. If you’ve got something juicy, please tip this a-way.

And now, your song: The goddamn sun is out! Here’s “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers. Have a great weekend. And get your smoochers ready for Valentine’s Day.