The Rundown: Workers have the upper hand over employers

hiring
Now hiring signs stand in front of a McDonald's Sunday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Seward, Neb. David Zalubowski / AP Photo
hiring
Now hiring signs stand in front of a McDonald's Sunday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Seward, Neb. David Zalubowski / AP Photo

The Rundown: Workers have the upper hand over employers

Good afternoon! It’s Tuesday, and Superman’s son is bisexual. Can you imagine coming out to Superman, known for wearing a skintight outfit with underwear on the outside and hanging out with other ripped men wearing similar costumes? Anyway, here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. A record number of Americans quit their jobs as workers gain the upper hand over employers

More than 4 million people, almost 3% of the U.S. workforce, quit their jobs in August, according to data released today by the Labor Department. That’s more than previous records set in April and July, reports The Washington Post.

The news suggests workers are fed up with jobs that offer poor compensation and have terrible hours. And they see better opportunities elsewhere amid a worker shortage that has forced some companies to offer greater benefits.

There were more than 10 million job openings by the end of August. Republicans believed ending enhanced government benefits would push more Americans into the workforce, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Employers only added 194,000 jobs last month. [WaPo]

The so-called Great Supply Chain Disruption offers one of the clearest examples of the consequences of employers failing to attract workers. The New York Times takes a close look at Georgia’s Port of Savannah and why disruptions across the world may persist. [NYT]

2. Delta’s surge pushed many Americans further behind, poll finds

Thirty-eight percent of households across the nation report facing serious financial problems in the past few months, according to a new national poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Among Latino, Black and Native American households, more than 50% had serious financial problems, while 29% of white households did, NPR reports.

The poll showed a sharp income divide, with 59% of those with annual incomes below $50,000 reporting serious financial problems in the past few months, compared with 18% of households with annual incomes of $50,000 or more. [NPR]

3. Can Illinois achieve its ambitious green energy goals?

If history is any indication, the answer might not be too promising. The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois “has a track record of setting and celebrating renewable energy targets only to miss the mark by a wide margin.”

For example, the newspaper points out the state had a previous goal of getting 19% of its energy from renewable sources by this year. So far, Illinois is on track to hit 8%.

The Pritzker administration says it’s not fair to compare the governor’s green energy plan to those of previous administrations, saying earlier efforts suffered from a lack of resources that made the goals unreachable. [Chicago Tribune]

4. Britain debates designating misogyny as a hate crime

Activists and lawmakers in the U.K. are pushing for legislation that would create stricter punishments for certain crimes against women, such as stalking, harassment and domestic abuse, reports The New York Times.

Their calls to designate misogyny as a hate crime comes amid the fallout of the police abduction, rape and murder of Sarah Everard. The young woman was walking home in London in March when an officer, Wayne Couzens, kidnapped her. Couzens pleaded guilty to her murder earlier this year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson opposes the effort to expand hate crimes, saying there are already “abundant” laws to combat violence against women. [NYT]

5. Netflix stands by Dave Chappelle in uproar over transphobic remarks … and suspends a transgender employee

A transgender software engineer at Netflix has been suspended after criticizing comedian Dave Chappelle’s recent special on the streaming service, saying it “attacks the trans community, and the very validity of transness.”

Chappelle made several comments about transgender people during his recent Netflix special, The Closer, that raise questions about where the streaming service draws the line on hate speech.

A spokesperson for Netflix said the software engineer, Terra Field, and two other employees were suspended because they tried to attend a meeting they were not invited to.

Netflix is under pressure from advocacy groups to remove Chappelle’s special. But Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in a memo that the special will not be pulled due to “creative freedom.”

“Chappelle is one of the most popular stand-up comedians today, and we have a long-standing deal with him,” Sarandos said. [The Verge]

Here’s what else is happening

  • New development and job growth in Chicago are more prevalent in areas where white people live. [WBEZ]
  • The Biden administration ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop mass worksite raids. [Axios]
  • Prince Charles says his Aston Martin runs on cheese and wine. [USA Today]
  • Here’s some advice on how to quit Facebook and move to another social media platform. [Washington Post]

Oh, and one more thing …

Sorry, I’m keeping this one short because I just don’t feel very funny. My grandfather, Raymond Clauss, died today after a long battle with cancer.

He lived in San Antonio, Texas, where I was born, and raised peacocks, longhorn cattle and a couple of horses. He claimed a giant vine at his ranch was so old that it must have met a conquistador or two.

One of the best pieces of advice he gave me and my siblings was to learn how to dance, which my friends will say I followed with mixed results. But he was right, because I met my husband at a dance party on Halloween.

And I’ll pass down my grandfather’s advice to my nephews so they can do the same to their kids.

Tell me something good …

Halloween is getting closer and closer. So what’s the scariest spot in Chicago?

Susan Marcus writes:

“The most haunted place I have experienced in Chicago was the Congress Hotel. I heard children laughing in the elevator and when the elevator door opened, the elevator was empty. I visited the kitchen, which the concierge said was very haunted, and while questioning the current workers, a whole group of kitchen help in old-fashioned clothes walked past us. Lastly was the idiot spirit that kept flushing my toilet in the middle of the night. I asked it to stop and leave and it did. Five-star hotel from the other side.”

Feel free to email me at therundown@wbez.org or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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