America Arrests Working Mom. Good Job, America!

Welcome to the US of A, where you can get arrested for letting your nine-year-old play in the park while you go to work at McDonald’s. Spluttering with indignation? Let Conor Friederdorf of the Atlantic articulate your outrage for you. His skills are well-honed.

By arresting this mom (presumably causing her to lose her job) and putting the child in foster care, the state has caused the child far more trauma than she was ever likely to suffer in the park, whatever one thinks of the decision to leave her there. Even if the state felt it had the right to declare this parenting decision impermissible, couldn’t they have given this woman a simple warning before taking custody?

Also, even though it is against the law for your boss to tell you not to discuss your salary with your coworkers, odds are your boss will either not know that or not care. For that matter, you may well not know your rights, either. Let’s go over them, shall we? 

Seattle: America’s First Large City Approves a $15 Minimum Wage

.@Mayor_Ed_Murray is here! Is he excited about this historic vote? "…Yeah. Tired but happy." pic.twitter.com/se3Wd7lcMd

— Ansel (@Ansel) June 2, 2014

Seattle, Washington’s nine-member City Council unanimously voted to raise the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. It won’t happen immediately: The hourly minimum wage will jump to $11 an hour starting next year for large employers like Starbucks, and then according to the Times, “will rise to $15 by 2017 for employers with more than 500 workers that do not provide health insurance, and by 2018 for those large employers who do.”

Women in Favor of Increasing the Minimum Wage

Payscale, a company that provides compensation information, asked 11,000 of its users last December whether they believed the minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour.

Cheering for a Small Wage and Looking to Change the System

Some weekend reading: Earlier this year, we had a short post about how the cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders were suing for wage theft. ESPN Magazine has a really good feature story about Lacy T., the cheerleader who "filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court alleging that the Raiders fail to pay their cheerleaders minimum wage for all hours worked, withhold pay until the end of the season, require cheerleaders to cover their own business expenses, don't provide lunch breaks and impose fines for minor infractions -- all of which, according to the suit, constitute violations of the California Labor Code."

Who the Minimum Wage Workers Are

While the president's proposed plan to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 languishes in a divided Congress, the Upshot's Jared Bernstein reports that as many as 34 states may propose minimum wage increases on their ballots this year. Who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage? Bernstein looked at the numbers.

How Much Would You Need to Earn to Afford a One-bedroom in Your County?

The National Low Income Housing Coalition looked at fair market rents (according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development), and calculated how much a worker would need to earn per hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment in their county (the "housing wage").

Two Sides of How Businesses are Dealing With Minimum Wage Increases

The Wall Street Journal has a pretty even-handed examination of how increases in the minimum wage has affected businesses in various cities across the U.S., focusing on San Jose, Calif. where locals voted to increase the minimum wage to $10.15 hour in 2012.

What Happens When You Start Earning a Living Wage

Gothamist has really terrific profiles of five of the 1,400 workers at Resorts World Casino who saw their pay double from $10-$12/hour to $20 or more, plus benefits after their union struck a new contract deal for them. Here's Jeannine Nixon, who works at the casino as a customer relations representative.

How Much Do You Pay Someone To Risk Their Life For You on Mt. Everest?

Thirteen Sherpas, or professional specialized mountain guides, died this week in an avalanche on Mount Everest, while another three remain unaccounted for, and the rest of the Nepalese Sherpa community has decided to close out the season early:

The accident underscored the huge risks faced by Sherpas who maintain and prepare the icy slopes for climbers and trek the routes carrying equipment for their clients. In a season, Sherpas can earn from $3,000 to $6,000 (2,171 – 4,342 euros), which is about 10 times the average annual pay in Nepal.

On Tuesday, Nepal’s Tourism Ministry announced an agreement to establish a relief fund for guides killed or injured while climbing the mountain, one of the key concessions demanded by the Sherpas following last week’s disaster. Funding is thought to be well below that requested by the guides.

Minimum insurance cover for Sherpas on the mountain, the government said, would be raised by 50-percent to around $15,000.

If Walmart Paid Workers a Living Wage

Marketplace and Slate have been working on a joint project about food stamps. They previously reported that big box stores like Walmart pay many of their workers so little that they qualify for foodstamps—which they then use at the stores they work in. Andrew Bouvé produced this video looking at how paying workers at Walmart a living wage could potentially affect prices at Walmart.