Work & Money | KERA News

Work & Money

"Paying your debt to society by being incarcerated is just a simple myth," says Toby Savitz, ex-offender and director of programs at Pathfinders
Allison V. Smith for KERA

After serving two years in prison for possession of meth, Toby Savitz found herself in a series of low-paying jobs with no real path forward. She finally kicked the door open after landing a position at a nonprofit that helps ex-offenders like her. But she admits there aren’t enough jobs like hers to go around.

Marc Wilson standing outside the George L. Allen, Sr. Courts Building in downtown Dallas on Sept. 10, 2019. Much of the child support debt he racked up in prison has been reduced. But he's still far behind, and relief is tempered by feelings of guilt.
Allison V. Smith for KERA

Prison makes it nearly impossible to hold onto savings and earn money. But it's a great place to take on debt.

Before prison, Marc Wilson was set up to pass on wealth-building opportunities to his children and grandchildren, like a house and tuition help.
Allison V. Smith for KERA

When people go to prison, income dries up and earning potential rockets backward.

And when you mix incarceration with America's legacy of systemic racism, an ex-offender's ability to hand off wealth to the next generation is an even heavier struggle.

Marc Wilson's personal wealth decreased significantly after serving a seven-year prison sentence for drug trafficking. "I'm starting from scratch, you know?"
Allison V. Smith for KERA

As a father, Marc Wilson had his family firmly in the middle class. Then a drug conviction sent him to prison for seven years. 

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The World Health Organization has redefined burnout as a syndrome tied to chronic workplace stress that "has not been successfully managed."

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Americans with a lot of money are often praised as "hard workers,” but do elbow grease and ambition always lead to wealth?

Updated 7:55 p.m. ET

The World Health Organization is bringing attention to the problem of work-related stress. The group announced this week that it is updating its definition of burnout in the new version of its handbook of diseases, the International Classification of Diseases — ICD-11 — which will go into effect in January 2022

With the economy booming, Ernesto Martinez can barely keep up with all the construction work coming into the small drywall company he owns. He's part of a historic wave of Latino prosperity in America.

It wasn't always like this. Martinez remembers when he was 17. He had $120 to his name, and it was all in his pocket. It's how much he got paid for his first job in the U.S., as a mover. He says he stood there, mesmerized, in front of a shop window at the mall.

Martinez was looking at a pair of Air Jordans. They cost around $100.

From Texas Standard:

Momentum for one of Gov. Greg Abbott's priority issues this legislative session appears to have dwindled. Ordinances passed in Dallas, Austin and other Texas cities, which require private employers to offer paid sick leave to employees, will remain on the books now that an attempt to prohibit them failed to pass in the legislature.

Gaby Gemetti thought she was failing. After having a second child, she struggled to be a good mom and also a good employee.

"I felt like I wasn't a good mother," she says. "I was waking up in the middle of the night thinking about, 'Oh, my presentation,' or just work in general."

So, even though Gemetti was moving up the management ranks at a top tech company in Silicon Valley, she gave up the job four years ago to stay home in Santa Clara, Calif. As hard as it was, Gemetti's decision was particularly driven by her son's needs, when he started requiring regular therapy.

Callie Richmond / Texas Tribune

Amid a debate in the Texas Capitol over whether such rules should be banned statewide, the Dallas City Council on Wednesday passed a new ordinance requiring employers in the city to offer paid sick leave to their employees.

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant is the military's primary provider of small-caliber ammunition, such as the .50-caliber rounds seen here.
Chris Haxel / Guns & America

Two years after an explosion at a crucial Army factory that is the country's largest producer of small-caliber ammunition, the true cause of Lawrence Bass Jr.'s death remains unclear.

The Supreme Court has accepted three cases that ask whether federal anti-discrimination laws should apply to sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, putting the court on track to consider high-profile LGBTQ issues after its next term begins this fall.

Malak Silmi was taking her first real journalism class last January when her professor said something that changed her life: Watch what you post on social media because it might just come back to bite you.

Silmi's Twitter account at the time was one she'd had since she was 14. It was a public profile with her content ranging from memes and status updates to opinions on foreign policy. But she decided something had to change if she wanted to be taken seriously as a journalist. So, she deactivated it.

Updated at 3:29 p.m. ET

Bank of America will raise the minimum wage for its employees to $20 an hour in the next two years and freeze health care cost increases for lower-paid workers, the company said Tuesday.

The hourly pay will rise to $17 starting May 1 and then increase to the higher rate by 2021, CEO Brian Moynihan said.

The state’s labor regulator on Tuesday approved a controversial new rule on gig economy workers – a rule opponents say will have far-reaching implications for these workers going forward.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET

The U.S. labor market bounced back strongly in March after a lackluster showing in February.

U.S. employers added 196,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday. That's a big improvement from February, when revised figures show just 33,000 jobs were added. But it's a slowdown from the last three months of 2018, when monthly job growth averaged 233,000.

San Antonio’s tech community held a job fair Wednesday night in at the Pearl, but it was a little different than most. First, it was private. Around a dozen employers from Amazon Web Services to H-E-B chatted with prospective employees. Beer and wine was served. A DJ played.

Workers' rights advocates called on the Texas Workforce Commission to abandon a proposed rule that would exempt gig economy contractors from unemployment benefits. They say the rule was crafted by industry lobbyists and could encourage businesses to adopt online-only models to dodge state taxes for worker benefits.

Sex work is illegal in much of the United States, but the debate over whether it should be decriminalized is heating up.

Former California Attorney General and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris recently came out in favor of decriminalizing it, as long as it's between two consenting adults.

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To avoid what's been dubbed the "benefits cliff," some workers turn down higher-paying jobs because it would disqualify them from public assistance.

About twenty San Antonio veterans filed suit against 3M, maker of worker safety and healthcare products. The veterans said they suffered hearing damage during their service because of faulty earplugs made by the company. On Thursday, their attorneys announced the case on the steps of the John H. Wood, Jr. Federal Courthouse.

What started as seemingly simple state legislation hailed as good for Texas businesses is drawing skepticism from legal experts and outrage from advocates worried it would strike employment protections and benefits for LGBTQ workers.

Walmart's U.S. CEO Greg Foran is telling all store managers that they should make "every effort" to provide new job options for greeters with disabilities. Many of these front-door workers remain in limbo as the company plans to eliminate its trademark greeter position in about 1,000 stores in coming months.

Texas lawmakers on Thursday advanced a bill that would prevent a city from requiring private employers to give their workers certain benefits, such as paid sick leave.

Editor's Note: If you're a Walmart greeter — or know someone who is — and would like to share your story with NPR, please reach out to us at tech@npr.org.

If you ask John Combs what his biggest worry is, he'll say: "How will I feed Red?"

Red is actually white. He's a labradoodle rescue, just tall enough for Combs to pet if he reaches over the armrest of his wheelchair. Combs, 42, has cerebral palsy. He has difficulty speaking. But he has no difficulty saying the line most Americans have heard at least once: "Welcome to Walmart!"

SingjaiStock / shutterstock

A new statewide study shows 42 percent of Texas households struggle to make ends meet — households where at least one adult is working. In Dallas County, it's 43 percent. 

"If you have a crappy meal, it just feels like a crappy part of my day," says Jen Van Fleet, an educator in Davenport, Iowa.

It has been a tough year in her school district. There have been new hires and budget cuts and extra work that has kept everyone busier than usual. Just before Thanksgiving, she was commiserating with her friends about the year and her mediocre lunches when someone had a brilliant idea: start a lunch club.

What The Future Of Work Means For Cities

Jan 15, 2019

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Union members and other federal employees stop in front of the White House in Washington during a rally Thursday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

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