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Big Fish Eat Little Fish

Two days ago, I was reading an article in New York Magazine about food delivery drivers in New York City that made me question my use of delivery services. The article was from the perspective of the delivery drivers who deliver for the big three: DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats. These drivers ride motorized bikes that cost up to $3000 after modifications, that they are required to have at a personal expense. These bikes are continuously at risk of being stolen, so much so that the drivers have banned together to form a vigilante squad and have been following thieves and doing stakeouts to get their property back. This is all necessary because of apathetic police officers and companies that give them no slack, and will fire them or dock their pay if they are late or have no bike. They also discussed wages, inconsistent tips, the danger of riding their bikes (there are many, many accidents), and many other things they go through so we can have food delivered. 

Now, while I do not live in NYC, I do order food delivery, both grocery and from food delivery services. I do it a lot. It picked up significantly during the pandemic and I have become spoiled. One driver told a story of a customer who ordered one piece of cake, forcing the driver to ride over 18 blocks and over two bridges to take this person their cake. All this to receive $0 in tips. I would like to think I’m not that bad, but I order one meal, but I always tip, Always. Another driver delivered a pint of ice cream during Hurricane Ida. These stories make me wonder now what my delivery drivers have gone through, so I could get my groceries. I try not to be a pain in the ass customer, but I wonder if I do something inadvertently. So, now, I am being more cognizant of how much I order; how far away the place is and what I tip. I also don’t order one piece of cake, but if you do, make sure you tip because the only people getting rich off that delivery are the apps. Tip the drivers!

And Another One

In the latest move of “not nearly enough,” The Department of Justice changed department-wide policies to prohibit chokeholds and carotid restraint unless deadly force is needed. They also limited when a no-knock warrant can be authorized. Politico reports the directive  only applies to law enforcement overseen by the Justice Department. Meaning state and local law enforcement and immagration agencies are not bound by this. With regard to no knock entries, the new rules require an agent to state “reasonable grounds to believe that knocking and announcing the agent’s presence would create an imminent threat of physical violence to the agent and/or another person.”  The new rule requires approval from both the prosecutor and a supervising agent as opposed to just a judge, like most warrants. This is what makes it more limiting than current law.  

After making that change, in the next breath, the Justice Dept  says they recognize there may be “rare circumstances” for expectations to the physical safety additive and allows for expectations to be sought.  Look, I guess this is supposed to be progress. But is it really?

In June 2020, NPR reviewed bans on neck restorations, both choke hold and carotid holds, on the state level, and “found them largely ineffective and subject to lax enforcement. And when chokeholds specifically were banned, a variation on the neck restraint was often permitted instead.” This review included police department such as LAPD and NYPD. So what am I supposed to do with this announcement from the Justice Department? Is there still a shortage on toilet paper?

History has proven that these types of laws are only good in theory, because in practice, police still use chokeholds and people still die. Despite this, a Washington Post analysis reported that 32 of the nation’s 65 largest police departments have banned or strengthened restrictions on the use of neck restraints since the murder of George Floyd. Also just as ineffective are “duty-to-intervene” rules because of the “paramilitary structure of police departments.” Thus it’s going to take more than rules to change decades of this ” no consequences, I’m God on the streets” culture. The departments have to rid themselves of the people that think this way; that think chokeholds are good tools and employ only people who can follow the rules and see all citizens as human beings.

I Thought It Was The Checks

After receiving the following email from the pizza place down the street from me, I climbed back on one of my “soap boxes.”

Hello!!!! The employment problems restaurants are having are NOT due solely to increased unemployment benefits, which are over now unless congress passes an extension of some sort. Restaurant Dive agrees with me as they reported the labor crisis is more complicated than the unemployment benefits. Turns out, many workers have left the industry altogether. In fact, 15%  of hourly workers surveyed by Black Box/Snagajob changed industries in the past year, while 33% would like to do so. 30% of former restaurant employees found office positions and 17% went into teaching or education, according to Technomic’s Crisis on the Front Lines study. Many have also turned to industries with more growth, such as warehouse and on-demand jobs. Most workers are leaving the restaurant industry for three reasons: to receive higher pay (28%); for access to a more consistent schedule/income (23%); and because they lack access to professional development and promotional opportunities (17%), according to Black Box/Snagajob. 

But changing industries is not their only problem. Restaurant Dive also reported an increase in abuse at restaurant jobs. According to the Black Box/Snagajob report, 62% of workers have experienced emotional abuse/disrespect from customers while 49% said they experienced emotional abuse from managers.  A One Fair Wage report backs this up, especially when it comes to customers acting out in response to COVID-19 protocols. Some workers said customers have threatened to not give a good tip unless the servers took off their masks.

So let’s stop pretending that this is all about an extra $300/week in unemployment. Employers love market forces when they get to pay workers less money and offer less benefits; so keep that same energy when those forces favor the workers. Workers are making different choices. So you need to figure out why they won’t work for you (hint some of the reasons are pointed out above) and fix it. This was a public service announcement! And for heaven’s sake, stop abusing people.

Unconvincing Press Tour

Does someone want to tell me why Supreme Court Justices are on a mission to convince us that they are not political by reading the same talking points everywhere? The Washington Post reported Justice Thomas, during a speech at the University of Notre Dame, said justices are not ruling based on “personal preferences” and suggested that the nation’s leaders should not “allow others to manipulate our institutions when we don’t get the outcome that we like.” The Post also reported that Justice Stephen G. Breyer, during a book tour, emphasized that he and his colleagues are not “junior league” politicians and Justice Amy Coney Barrett, told a crowd in Kentucky, last week, that justices are not a “bunch of partisan hacks.” Justice Barrett was at a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the opening of the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville, as in Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, who was also in attendance. 

Just stop; you are making it worse. We do not believe you. In declining to hear the emergency petition to stop the restrictive, presumptively unconstitutional abortion law in Texas, when the majority of the Justices personal opinions are “pro-life” is not a coincidence. Stop treating us like we are stupid. Your interpretation of the law is colored by your political leanings. It is also not a coincidence that liberal judges are usually in the dissent together and conservative judges who are now the majority of the court are often together for the majority opinion. How are you trying to convince us that your voices are independent of your personal beliefs and political leanings.  Just Stop and have several seats or benches.

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