Friday, July 27, 2018

Making a Home in Seattle

"Nannies of the Northwest, unite! Seattle tests a new labor model" by Josh Eidelson Bloomberg News  July 25, 2018

WASHINGTON — For a growing chunk of America’s labor force, the workplace is the home — someone else’s home.

And in Seattle, nannies, cleaners, and home-caregivers just won a battle that offers a glimpse of a brighter future for the embattled US labor movement.

The city’s council unanimously passed legislation late Monday that enshrines minimum wages and guaranteed rest breaks for domestic workers, who were excluded from many New Deal-era labor protections. What’s groundbreaking about the Seattle measure is that it also empowers the workers to negotiate industrywide conditions and regulations.

They’ll be represented, along with employers, on a new permanent board tasked with writing new rules on areas like overtime pay, sick leave, and health benefits. Members will be appointed by lawmakers and the mayor, and will bring their proposals to the council for a vote.

The plan carries echoes of Europe, where it’s routine for workers and management to negotiate over standards for a whole industry, rather than just reach company-by-company deals. The model appeals to some advocates in the United States, where collective bargaining has been in decline for decades and the Supreme Court dealt a new blow to labor last month by banning mandatory public-sector union fees.

It’s happening in an industry where demand is “exploding,’’ as aging baby boomers prefer to be cared for at home rather than in costly and impersonal institutions, according to Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “These are going to be a really large share of the jobs of the future,’’ she said. “They’re not outsourceable, they won’t be automated.’’

Just replaced by volunteers.

There’ll be more than 4 million home health and personal care workers by 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects, an increase of some 40 percent in a decade. Those jobs pay a median annual salary of around $23,000.

The Seattle bill does not apply to home health aides who are publicly funded, but it covers other home-based care and cleaning workers — regardless of whether they’re self-employed, hired directly by consumers, or employed by agencies.

It's called hypocrisy, and you should get paid for that.

Such regulations risk making care at home too expensive for many American seniors, according to William Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice.

“It comes down to some very difficult decisions in striking a balance between the worker and the person they serve,’’ said Dombi. He acknowledged that “society has yet to catch up’’ with the respect that domestic workers are due, but said Congress decided for good reason that the balance should “be struck in favor of the consumer.’’

Labor advocates counter that providing basic protections is crucial to attracting and retaining a qualified workforce.

Seattle is an illustration of the way America is diverging on workplace rules, with some jurisdictions adopting antiunion “right-to-work’’ laws while others test the limits of prolabor policy.

The northwestern city passed a $15 minimum wage law after convening representatives of labor and management to hammer out the details. In 2015 Seattle created its own collective bargaining system for Uber drivers, which is now being challenged in court. Current Mayor Jenny Durkan pledged during her campaign last year to back a “Domestic Worker Bill of Rights”

Just wondering where they are going to work since Seattle made Amazon very unhappy and the city backed down (sorry for the sour face) on the homeless problem. 

The “elephant in the room is the tax incentives,” and it sure looks like she learned her le$$on (good luck collecting that money in New Hampshire).

Maybe you should just rent an apartment.

(Btw, Amazon and its billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos, have a long history of thwarting unionization efforts in the United States. Bloomberg reported that Bezos is now the richest person in modern history. His net worth broke $150 billion in New York on Monday morning, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and’s quarterly profits hit a record $2.5 billion, the technology giant announced Thursday, as it races to become the world’s first trillion dollar company).

Maybe this will help you get that down.

After success in Seattle and eight states that passed their own protections for home-care and cleaning workers over the past decade, the National Domestic Workers Alliance plans to unveil a federal version in September.

“We want to conquer Seattle, and then we want to conquer Washington State, and then we want to conquer the blue states, and then hopefully on to the red,’’ said Ty Messiah, a Seattle nanny who testified in favor of the legislation — and also wrote and performed a song for the campaign.....


Too bad so many people are going green when it comes to housekeepers:

"Synthetic marijuana and brighter lights could improve the lives of people with dementia, new" by Tara Bahrampour The Washington Post  July 24, 2018

Synthetic marijuana and brighter lights could help improve the lives of people with dementia, according to new research presented Tuesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago.

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are best known for the breakdown in cognitive abilities, but a host of other symptoms — including agitation, anxiety, depression, and insomnia — reduce patients’ quality of life, create more challenges for caregivers, and are the leading causes for placement in assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drug treatments for these symptoms, although some pharmaceuticals, such as antipsychotics, approved for other diseases are prescribed off-label for Alzheimer’s patients; however, they are associated with increased apathy, strokes, and deaths, but a synthetic form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active chemical in marijuana, was found to be safe and effective in treating agitation, lack of appetite, and other behavioral symptoms in dementia patients, according to a new study out of the University of Toronto.

In the trial, 39 people with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s dementia received nabilone, a synthetic form of THC that is easier to regulate and is available in capsule form, for six weeks, and a placebo for six weeks. While on nabilone, their agitation levels and neuropsychiatric symptoms were reduced while their appetite improved, as exhibited in both clinical tests and caregiver reports.

‘‘We’re excited because we think this opens a whole new door for cannabinoids as a group for treating agitation in Alzheimer’s disease,’’ said Krista Lanctot, professor of psychiatry and pharmacology-toxicology at the University of Toronto.

The capsules are approved to treat the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy; this is the first clinical trial in which it is being given to Alzheimer’s patients, Lanctot said. Similar to recreational marijuana, the synthetic version reduces pain and anxiety and increases appetite. The fuzzy brain associated with recreational use is not really a concern when treating Alzheimer’s patients, because they already have memory problems, Lanctot said. And the synthetic form, which is modified to be less potent, can also have effects that prevent neurons from dying, she said.

Lanctot said she hopes to get funding for a bigger trial; a 10-person trial of another synthetic cannabinoid is starting in the United States.

In another study presented Tuesday, scientists from the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute presented findings on a lighting system tailored to improve sleep, mood, and behavior for nursing home residents with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

The findings could make facilities throughout the country rethink their lighting design.....

Then there are those close-minded ones that will just shut off the lights on the kids.


Also see:

Experimental Alzheimer’s drug significantly slowed patients’ cognitive decline

Don't get your hopes up.


Boston presents plan for battling youth substance use

But think of all the money and jobs!

Made you should just cross the border over there:

"Authorities say Toronto rampage suspect had no link to terror groups" by Rob Gillies and Tamara Lush Associated Press  July 24, 2018

TORONTO — Canadian investigators said Tuesday there was no link to terrorism in the mass shooting that killed two people and wounded 13 as they continued to probe the life of the 29-year-old gunman for clues to what prompted the rampage that targeted diners at restaurants and cafes in a popular Toronto neighborhood.

Another one up there?

The alleged assailant, Faisal Hussain, died after an exchange of gunfire with police. His family has said he suffered from lifelong ‘‘severe mental health challenges’’ but they never imagined he would do such a thing. It was not immediately clear whether he took his own life or was killed by police during the attack Sunday night.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Public Safety knocked down suspicions of any links to terrorism.

The mass shooting in Toronto’s Greektown neighborhood stunned people in a normally safe city, already unsettled by an attack just three months ago when a man used a van to plow over pedestrians on a downtown sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 14 in an attack apparently aimed at women.

Hussain’s family issued a statement saying their son had a long history of psychosis and depression and had not responded to numerous treatment approaches, including therapy and medication.

Investigators searched the low-income apartment that Hussain shared with his parents and siblings on Thorncliffe Park Drive in the eastern part of the city, and removed boxes of potential evidence overnight. An autopsy on Hussain was expected Tuesday.

Where Hussain got his handgun remains unknown.

Canada overhauled its gun-control laws after the country’s worst mass shooting in 1989, when gunman Marc Lepine killed 14 women and himself at Montreal’s Ecole Polytechnique college. It is now illegal to possess an unregistered handgun or any kind of rapid-fire weapon. Canada also requires training, a personal risk assessment, two references, spousal notification, and criminal record checks.

During a debate in City Council on Tuesday, Councilman Joe Cressy asked if Toronto could outright ban guns and was informed it would be up to the federal government to change laws. Mayor John Tory has questioned why anybody would need a gun in Toronto.

Don Peat, a spokesman for the mayor, said the Council was considering a motion urging the federal government to ban the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition in Toronto.

Why do they have to grab their guns up there?

Canadians have often taken comfort in the peacefulness of their communities and are nervous about anything that might indicate they are moving closer to their American counterparts.

Still, though mass shootings are rare in Canada’s largest city, Toronto police had deployed dozens of additional officers over the weekend to deal with a recent rise in gun violence. The city has seen 23 gun homicides so far this year, compared to 16 fatal shootings in the first half of 2017.

Are you sure a drill wasn't taking place? 

Toronto has long prided itself as being one of the safest big cities in the world..... 

Not anymore, huh?


Related: Danforth Shooting & the Gun Control/Police State Push in Canada

So many unanswered questions.