Traced to the Female
Barbara Tuchman | Biden’s Rail Strike | Company-Wide Time Off | She Said | Fediverse
Quote of the Moment
Theology being the work of males, original sin was traced to the female.
| Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror
I stumbled across this line by Tuchman this week. She caused me to wonder if the persistent pay inequality for women links back to a deep and persistent thread that women don’t ‘belong’ in the workplace as equals, because of the religious doctrine of female subservience.
How else to explain it?
Biden’s Rail Strike
By inserting himself into the middle of a threatened US rail strike by a collection of unions against a cartel of rail companies, whatever comes from his recent political motions will be Biden’s to own.
Where we stand, according to Emily Cochrane:
Acting quickly the day after Mr. Biden made a personal appeal at the White House, a bipartisan coalition in the House voted 290 to 137 to approve a measure that would force the rail companies and employees to abide by a tentative agreement that the Biden administration had helped broker earlier this year, which increased pay and set more flexible schedules for workers.
With liberal Democrats threatening to withhold their votes unless the legislation granted additional paid leave, a key demand of workers, the House also approved a separate measure to add seven days of compensated sick time to the compact. That measure passed largely on party lines, 221 to 207, with all but three Republicans opposed.
It’s worth noting that the US is the only advanced Western democracy that has no guarantee of paid sick leave. A bill to create national paid sick leave has been stalled in Congress since at least 2004. And, of course, Congress will not use this opportunity to rally around the obvious benefits of a national paid sick leave policy, but instead will pass a law to bandaid over this specific incident, because the economy — and major businesses — would be harmed by a rail strike.
Some people in Congress are making the right noises, however:
“I would not be able to do my job without paid sick time; every American worker deserves the same allowance,” said Representative Donald M. Payne Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, noting that he has to attend regular dialysis treatment for Type 2 diabetes. “Without paid sick time, railroad workers are forced to make a choice between their health, or the health of their families, and their paychecks.”
What is going to happen in the Senate, though, where at least 10 Republicans would have to agree to a bill, even if all Democrats sign on? From the Washington Post:
The focus now turns to the Senate where the timing for a vote is unclear. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will meet with Democratic senators Thursday to discuss the rail negotiations. Some Democrats are insistent that the Senate vote on providing seven days of paid sick leave.
“A multibillion-dollar industry that is engaged in buybacks, that has doubled its profit margins during the pandemic should not be able to force its workers to come in when they are sick and injured,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Sen. Warren and other progressives are making noises about the sick leave aspects of the agreement, so it’s unclear what will shake out. Maybe the strike, now Biden’s, can’t be averted.
Sign up for Work Futures, and if you can afford it consider a paid subscription. This is my mainstream work, not a side hustle.
Company-Wide Time Off
Sarah Todd looks to Europe for ideas on how to take company-wide time off, which might be a good idea for that dead period between Xmas and New Year’s:
The idea of pressing pause on work this way might not seem so novel to Europeans. In France, for example, it’s still common for businesses to close for a week or more in August, allowing Aoûtiens to vacation in peace. The European tradition can be traced back to the rise of factory jobs during the Industrial Revolution. As The Economist notes, “an assembly line does not function very well without a full complement of workers, so it makes sense for them to all take time off together.”
But, obviously, not the railroads.
In ‘She Said’ Is My Workaholic Nightmare, Angelina Chapin praises the motives of the real-world journalists who pursue the Harvey Weinstein case and seems to be waiting for the protagonists’ lives to spin out of control because of their work obsession:
The journalism world is especially guilty of making people feel like they should be grateful for getting a paycheck. Workaholism is a prerequisite for most job listings, which usually read something like this: “You thrive on adrenaline and are a scoop machine who mainlines the internet 24/7.” Most media about the industry glorifies staying at your desk past any reasonable limit. I’m still traumatized by watching Vivian Kent, the pregnant journalist in Netflix’s Inventing Anna, work until her water breaks and she has contractions in the newsroom. While Jessica Pressler, the real-life reporter who covered fake heiress Anna Delvey for New York, did file the story when she was eight months pregnant, she told InStyle that it was “kind of fucked up” how she was visiting Delvey in jail so close to giving birth. “It’s my job and I have to be working up until the last second,” Pressler said. “Because that’s what this country is like.”
As I wrestle with whether I could become a mother and continue to work without losing my mind, I’ve been craving a depiction of the unglamorous reality and the rarely discussed consequences of blind dedication to landing a scoop. I want to see the mental breakdowns, the screaming matches with partners, the alienated friendships.
At first, She Said, the film adaptation of how two New York Times reporters broke the Harvey Weinstein story, seemed poised to deliver. The movie establishes that Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor (played by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, respectively) are the kind of women who do phone interviews while crossing busy streets and throw on slightly crumpled shirts because when your schedule is this tight, grooming is an afterthought. They tune out their husbands, who jokingly say things like “I’m having an affair” just to test the limits of their unimportance. They work late at the office before falling asleep in cabs on the way home. Their main focus is convincing scared-shitless sources to speak on the record and tackling a powerful Hollywood machine that has repeatedly killed the story they’re determined to tell.
Great writing from inside the stress machine of journalism about what looks likely to be a great movie.
Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of Wordpress — the company that owns the social network Tumblr — has announced that they will be adding the capability for Tumblr to act as a node in the ‘fediverse’, like Mastodon servers.
Apparently, a lot of people (like me) would rather use Tumblr as an alternative if Twitter goes completely sideways. I’ve been there for a loooooong time.
PS I am stoweboyd.tumblr.com (www.stoweboyd.com) if Twitter goes away. I don’t know what the fediverse ID will be, but it might be firstname.lastname@example.org.