Hollywood studios can require COVID vaccines for actors, crews under new union pact

A new pact between Hollywood unions and studios allows producers to require that actors and crews on some sets be required to have a COVID-19 vaccination.

The deal comes as cases again begin to spiral upward in Los Angeles and across the nation as the highly contagious delta coronavirus variant spreads.

The agreement, reached between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and several Hollywood unions including those representing actors and directors, expires Oct. 1 unless extended, The Wrap said.

It allows producers to mandate COVID vaccines for actors and crew who work on sets with the most close contact, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

But the new rules also . . . . full story here

Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter work week. The results will (not) shock you.

Why aren’t we doing this already?

From 2015 to 2019, Iceland ran the world’s largest trial of a shorter working week. An analysis of the results was finally published this week, and surprise! Everyone was happier, healthier, and more productive. Please pretend to be surprised. . . . “This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success,” said Will Stronge, Autonomy’s director of research. “It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks — and lessons can be learned for other governments.” . . . . Productivity either remained the same or actually increased, and worker wellbeing was considerably improved. Perceived stress and burnout went down, while health and work-life balance went up, as employees were given more time for housekeeping, hobbies, and their families. Both managers and staff considered the trials a major success . . . . full story at Mashable here

The seven industries most desperate for workers

Sawmills, veterinary clinics and psychologists’ offices are among the businesses gripped by escalating worker shortages, as employers in a few pockets of the economy step up competition for workers and sharply increase wages. . . . Compare restaurant and hotel openings to a sector such as manufacturing of nondurable goods — things that don’t last — such as pants and pancake mix. Before the novel coronavirus hit, those manufacturers sometimes drew a new worker for every job opening posted, similar to what restaurants are seeing now, meaning their labor market was tight but there was no shortage. As of April, the same companies were able to hire only one worker for every two job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a strong sign that workers are in short supply. . . . full story at Washington Post

“Great resignation” wave coming for companies – Upwards of 40% of Workers May Leave

Companies that made it through the pandemic in one piece now have a major new problem: more than a quarter of their employees may leave. Workers have had more than a year to reconsider work-life balance or career paths, and as the world opens back up, many of them will give their two weeks’ noticeand make those changes they’ve been dreaming about.

“The great resignation” is what economists are dubbing it.

  • Surveys show anywhere from 25% to upwards of 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs.
  • “I don’t envy the challenge that human resources faces right now,” says Anthony Klotz, an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University.

A number of colliding trends are driving the resignation boom, experts say. 

  • University of Michigan economist Betsey Stevenson tells Axios, “People have had a little more space to ask themselves, ‘Is this really what I want to be doing?'” So some are deciding they want to work fewer hours or with more flexibility to create more time for family or hobbies. . . . full story at Axios

Want a Job in Mechanical Engineering? Here Are 20 Top Companies

The employment of mechanical engineers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s about the same as the average for all occupations. But this only shows one dimension of the employment picture for mechanical engineers. The profession continues as one of the top job placement careers. When you get out of college you’re almost certain to get a job.

The states and districts that pay mechanical engineers the highest mean salary are New Mexico ($114,420), District of Columbia ($112,240), Maryland ($109,800), California ($107,920), and Alaska ($103,360).

We’ve listed some of the top employers in the slideshow. Some of them are a bit surprising: While we might not think of these companies as mechanical hardware companies, indeed, they employ an army of MEs . . . . full story here


CAN RESTAURANTS BECOME DRIVERS OF OPPORTUNITY—NOT INEQUALITY?

To Prosper in a New Era, Eateries Will Have to Reckon With Issues Left to Simmer on the Back Burner

Thousands of restaurants have closed for good across America since WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March. Many others remain temporarily shuttered; the remainder limp by with sales a fraction of what they were. Even with the arrival of a new administration and new vaccines, millions of restaurant workers continue to be out of work today, as the pandemic rounds its second year.

But the current disruption in the restaurant industry, for all the pain and economic loss it’s caused, provides an opening to disrupt the established models, and reckon with both the decline of hospitality and the reality of restaurant inequality. To recover and thrive in the years ahead, this essential American business will need to bring its time-honored cultural traditions into greater alignment with the social movements that define our times.

To start with, consider the slew of new options to purchase commercially prepared food that have flooded the marketplace in the last year. These options include delivery platforms, meal subscriptions, and online storefronts with offsite “ghost kitchens.” Takeout and delivery sales have skyrocketed, as have lines at the local drive-thru. Clearly, those who can afford to eat out occasionally are still buying and consuming food that they do not make themselves.

A shadowy army of workers has sprung up to staff these operations. Many are precariously employed, armed with some combination of a vehicle, a mobile app, a mask, and hand sanitizer. By connecting people to food through wordless hand-offs or drop-offs of plastic-wrapped edibles, these people are doing the human labor that Silicon Valley would rather automate than improve. It’s paying work, but we should be alarmed by this trend, which represents the decline of hospitality . . . . full article at Zocola Public Square


Get Ready for the Hospital of the Future

The digital transformation of healthcare has already begun, but there is still much work to do.

Attendees of the Virtual Engineering Week keynote, “Mayo Clinic 2030: Hospital of the Future,” got a glimpse of healthcare’s future. Mark Wehde, chair, Mayo Clinic Division of Engineering, explored the increasing digitalization of healthcare and how it could lead to more patient-centric care. Mayo Clinic’s 2030 Bold Forward plan is one such effort. “The plan recognizes that digital transformation is the key to our future, and digital platforms will be crucial to enable us to provide better care to more patients. We are well into the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution—this is the digital platform revolution. Healthcare is shifting from a traditional hospital-centric care model to a more virtual distributed care model that heavily leverages the latest technologies around artificial intelligence, deep learning, data analytics, genomics, home-based healthcare, robotics, and 3D printing of tissues and implants.” full article here


Uber and Lyft’s Gig Work Law Could Expand Beyond California

The companies are backing proposals in other states that would give workers the ability to form unions—but still consider them contractors, not employees.

In November, GIG companies including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart helped pass California’s Proposition 22, effectively writing their own labor law. Now the companies plan to bring similar legislation elsewhere.

Last month, the companies launched a group called the App-Based Work Alliance to support their agenda. Industry-supported bills in the works in New York state and Illinois would, like the California ballot measure, deny gig workers status as employees, and the workers’ compensation, paid family leave, sick pay, unemployment insurance, and minimum wage guarantees that come with it.

But the bills could give gig workers the right to form something resembling a union, allowing workers to bargain with multiple employers to create wage floors and standards. US workers in trucking, auto manufacturing, and grocery stores have participated in types of industry-wide bargaining, though the arrangement is more common in Europe.

The scheme has divided labor advocates. Some labor allies say that allowing gig workers to unionize would give them a much-needed seat at the table, in an industry where work and wages are dictated by algorithm and where access to the “bosses”—the companies that pay their wages—is hard to come by. Gaining the right to collectively bargain, these people say, is a vital first step in making the low-wage, high-turnover job more fair.

Others say that allowing gig companies to continue to treat their workers as independent contractors is a mistake. Legislation giving workers the right to a union without employment status would effectively be a government rubber stamp to gig companies’ business models, “in which the most low-income workers don’t have access to basic safety net benefits,” says Veena Dubal, a professor of labor law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. full story here at Wired


An even bigger battle for gig worker rights is on the horizon

“The first feeling I had was shock, disbelief and hurt,” Vanessa Bain, a worker-organizer with Gig Workers Collective, told TechCrunch. “It didn’t feel good to think that my fellow Californians voted to strip people like myself and my co-workers of our labor rights.. . . . We didn’t have time for more grieving because as soon as it passed, every company signaled they’re looking to expand this model to the national level, which means our organizing needs to adjust accordingly,” Bain said.”

But Prop 22 does not mark the end of the battle of the status of gig workers. Gig workers, lawyers and activists affiliated with Gig Workers Rising, Gig Workers Collective, the National Employment Law Project and the Partnership for Working Families are all gearing up to redouble their efforts in the New Year.

But the same goes for gig companies. Uber and Lyft are ready to take legislation similar to Prop 22 into other parts of the country and the world. So, really, the fight has just begun. In the year ahead, we will likely see lobbying efforts from both gig companies and gig worker organizations alike, as well as more lawsuits. full story here


Pandemic accelerating the move to a hybrid workplace

As employees swap the corporate office for the home office, business leaders are forced to re-examine the business model and strategic priorities.

The pandemic has amplified several trends already prevalent in the workplace: the growth of the dispersed workforce, the proliferation of digital engagement, and the rise of the subscription economy. Together, they are ushering in an era of a rapidly emerging work environment that promotes business agility and growth through a mix of on-site and remote employees, modern digital experiences, and on-demand access to software and solutions.

Flexible work environments will play a more central role moving forward. As one respondent put it, “remote workers are going to be the new norm for our company.” . . . Equally important to business leaders, employees are onboard with more remote work. According to PwC, almost three quarters (72%) of US employees now want to work remotely at least two days per week, with one third (32%) preferring to never go to the office. Similarly, Gallup reported in April 2020 that 60% of Americans would prefer to continue to work remotely once public health restrictions are lifted. full story here