Imma Stick Beside Him

As Im writing this, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the Olympics without an explanation. I am heartbroken. I hope she is ok and the American Women’s Gymnastics team is screwed.

No One Can Have Just One

Since July 5, hundreds of Frito-Lay plant workers in Topeka, Kansas have been on strike asking for better working conditions and pay. The way they tell it, they’ve got good reason to take action: Some of the plant’s 850 employees have been subjected to forced overtime and working 84-hour weeks, with no days off. One worker wrote a public letter to the company describing a harrowing scene where a coworker collapsed on the job and died. The people in charge, she wrote, “had us move the body and put in another coworker to keep the line going.” This claim elicited a response from Frito-Lay, and they posted on their website that “Employees are Not Required to Continue Working if an Associate Requires Emergency Medical Attention: Frito-Lay wholly rejects the recent allegation as entirely false…We are aware of only two instances in the last five years in which an individual has experienced a medical emergency at the plant that unfortunately resulted in that individual passing away. In both cases, medical attention was initially provided at the plant and work ceased until the associates were safely on the way to the hospital.” 

Frito-Lay says it’s committed to “providing a safe and fair workplace” and has offered a two-year contract it believes addresses workers’ concerns, including capping required work hours at … 60 hours a week. Thus far, the sides haven’t reached an agreement. There’s discussion among members of the public of how to support the workers. Mark McCarter, a palletizer and steward at Frito-Lay in Topeka, told Vice that he and his coworkers “would rather nobody buy” any Frito-Lay products as long as the strike lasts, including Fritos, Doritos, Tostitos, Funyuns, and Cheetos. He said they would prefer people avoid products from parent company PepsiCo, too. Vox: The Frito-Lay strike and how to support the workers This is crazy; forcing people to work that many hours is just crazy and you know it’s true because the “compromise” from Frito-Lay is 60 hours/week. Say what now? Who can work that long in a factory; that work is often hard on the body. I wish the workers the best of luck. I stand with these workers. If you need people working that many hours you need more people. Another consequence of the pandemic is that everyone is paying more attention to labor issues. These large corporations better get it together.

Ball Out!

“Elected officials in a conservative Michigan county who gave themselves bonuses of $65,000 with federal COVID-19 relief aid said they will return the money following days of criticism. The Michigan Constitution bars additional compensation for elected officials “after services had already been rendered,” prosecutor Scott Koerner said Friday. The commissioners, all Republicans, voted on July 15 to award themselves $65,000 as part of a plan to give $557,000 to 250 county employees as “hazard pay” for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The smallest amounts for recipients were $1,000 to $2,000. But County Board Chairman Jeremy Root got $25,000. Two more commissioners received $10,000 each, while four others received $5,000 each. The vote was 6-0 with one commissioner absent. AP; The Root: Michigan Republicans Used COVID Relief Money to Give Themselves Bonuses; Now They’re Giving it Back After Backlash The commissioners claimed there was confusion about the “nature of the funds.” But here’s the thing, you knew it wasn’t a cash bonus for you.  Nice Try. But this also begs the question of what they have done in the past with a surplus? Did have a wild night in Vegas or take a trip to Cabo? I mean they knew that money was not a free for all. I think an audit is in order. 

Give the People Unitards

“Germany’s female gymnasts stood out from other Tokyo Olympics competitors during a team qualifying round by wearing unitards, rather than traditional leotards. They first wore the bodysuits in competition during the European championships in April, when the German Gymnastics Federation said the choice of apparel was meant to counteract “sexualization” in the sport. “We wanted to show that every woman, everybody, should decide what to wear,” Germany’s Elisabeth Seitz said on Friday, after she and teammates wore unitards during a practice session in Tokyo. “We girls had a big influence on this,” Germany’s Sarah Voss said Friday. “The coaches were also very much into it. They said they want us to feel the most confident and comfortable in any case. It just makes you feel better and more comfortable.”  While male gymnasts either wear loose fitting shorts or full-length pants, depending on the discipline in which they are competing, women and girls at many levels of gymnastics have for decades tended to wear leotards cut high up their thighs. Unitards, however, are allowed, as are leggings of the same color as a given leotard. In addition to helping some competitors feel more comfortable, such outfits can be favored by athletes for reasons of cultural and religious modesty.” Washington Post: Wearing unitards, German gymnasts promote comfort, take stand against sexualization. Gotta say, I love people taking a stand. Keep it up.

Get Vaccinated or Else

Don’t want to take the vaccine? Some entities aren’t really giving you a choice. This week, New York and California announced all government employees have to get the vaccine or they will have weekly testing. But they are not alone, the Department of Veteran Affairs requires vaccines for all health care workers. In NYC, Mayor de Blasio announced all municipal workers, which includes teachers and police officers have until mid-September to get vaccinated or they will have weekly testing. Of course, there is push back. Some of the unions are already saying this cannot be done without negotiations. Not going as far, St Louis and L.A are both requiring mask be worn indoors no matter vaccination status. 

The good news? Vaccination rates are up. Last weekend there were” 657,000 vaccines reported administered Saturday and nearly 780,000 on Sunday, according to CDC data. The 7-day rolling average on Sunday was about 583,000 vaccinations a day, up from about 525,000 a week prior.” AP News: California, NYC to workers: Get vaccine or face weekly tests Listen up, COVID is still a thing and everyone needs to get on that program. It just is. Let’s deal with it and right now that means masks and vaccines. I know we all wish it wasn’t this way, but you don’t always get what you want and sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to. Get over it.