On the first night of the Republican National Convention, multiple speakers took to the stage to highlight President Trump’s actions to help the American economy. One of those speakers, Donald Trump Jr., spoke about the President’s quick and decisive actions to equip front line workers with the personal protective equipment (PPE) they needed to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. However, many individuals may recall that when health care providers throughout the country faced significant shortages in PPE, the Trump Administration responded by telling the states that it was their responsibility to procure their own supplies. Therefore, Americans should continue to fact check information being relayed during the convention regarding the White House’s actions, or lack thereof, to protect workers.
According to a recent global survey by UNICEF, violence prevention and response has been disrupted and significantly curtailed during the pandemic, which has left children throughout the world at increased risk. In response, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, took to Twitter yesterday to highlight how social workers have been providing invaluable labor during the pandemic to address these realities. Secretary-General Guterres also tweeted about the launch of a UN policy brief on COVID-19 and the impact it has had on local and global tourism. According to this report, tourism generated seven percent of global trade and employed one in every ten people globally last year. This year’s significant decrease in tourism due to the pandemic has therefore put an estimated 120 million tourism jobs at risk.
As OnLabor commentators have previously discussed, the state of California heavily relies on incarcerated labor. On example of this reliance is their use of prisoners as firefighters to fight forest fires throughout the state. According to a recent report by the New York Times, Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision to release thousands of incarcerated individuals to limit the spread of the coronavirus has actually led to a significant depletion in their firefighter force. Paid about $5.12 per day for their efforts, these workers’ release has actually hindered the state’s ability to effectively combat fires currently burning in the state, which has led to Newsom reaching out to other states for assistance.
Finally, the Oxford University press published a new paper in The Economic Journal that argues that a worker’s social network significantly impacts their productivity and earnings. The authors’ hypothesize that “large and loosely connected networks lead to better access to information [while] smaller and tighter networks lead to more peer pressure.” One of the paper’s conclusions is that – across different educational, vocational, and professional environments – female workers have smaller networks and male workers have larger ones, which the study believes may be a source of wage differences. Though additional research into the gender wage gap is helpful for fostering discussion and developing solutions, it remains important to remember that factors like wage secrecy, lack of legal recourse, discrimination, and disproportionate familial/childcare obligations are also significant barriers to pay equity.