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The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry

November 21, 2014 Comments off

The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry
Source: Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United

With more than 11 million employees, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the country. It is also the single-largest source of sexual-harassment charges filed by women with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Women occupy most of the financially precarious restaurant jobs; more than 70% of servers are women, and more than 60% of all tipped occupations are filled by women.

Due to the two-tiered wage system that allows restaurant employers to pay as little as $2.13 an hour (the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991) to tipped workers, and the overwhelming lack of enforcement and compliance ensuring that employers pay workers the full minimum wage when tips fall short, women in tipped occupations often make a living entirely off tips. Absent a stable base wage from their employers, tipped workers are forced to tolerate inappropriate behavior from customers on whose tips they depend to feed their families, and from co-workers and management who often influence shifts and hours. However, a majority of all restaurant workers report experiencing sexual harassment.

By looking at the rate and types of sexual harassment experienced by current and former restaurant workers through national surveys and rigorous analysis, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and Forward Together provide the most accurate picture to date of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry in The Glass Floor: Sexual Harassment in the Restaurant Industry.

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Deloitte Survey: Economic Optimism Warms Holiday Shoppers

October 30, 2014 Comments off

Deloitte Survey: Economic Optimism Warms Holiday Shoppers
Source: Deloitte

Optimism about the economy is kindling holiday cheer as shoppers plan to spend more this year and tech-savvy shoppers have even higher spending expectations, according to Deloitte’s 29th annual holiday survey. Among the findings:

Holiday spending to increase — consumers who shop across store, mobile and online channels are expected to spend more than single-channel shoppers

  • Total holiday spending is predicted to increase by 13 percent to $1,299 per household, and includes gifts, socializing away from home, entertaining at home, non-gift clothing for family or self, home/holiday furnishings, and any other holiday-related spending not in the other categories.
  • Spending on just gifts is expected to rise by 9 percent to $458 this year, from $421 last year.
  • Consumers who shop across store, mobile and online channels are expected to spend 66 percent more on gifts than those shopping stores only, $592 versus $357.
  • The number of gifts consumers expect to purchase increased to 13.4, up from 12.9 in 2013, but nearly 10 gifts less than the high of 23.1 in 2007.

Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States

October 23, 2014 Comments off

Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States
Source: Urban Institute

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

See also: Lax Enforcement and Legal Loopholes Enable Labor Trafficking Victimization; Broadest look ever at victim experiences in five major US industries

Airbnb in the City

October 17, 2014 Comments off

Airbnb in the City (PDF)
Source: New York State Office of the Attorney General

The rapid rise of short-term rental platforms like Airbnb have dramatically expanded the use of traditional apartments as transient hotel rooms — sparking a public debate in New York and in communities worldwide about the real-world consequences of this online marketplace.

Where supporters of Airbnb and other rental sites see a catalyst for entrepreneurship, critics see a threat to the safety, affordability, and residential character of local communities . Are the new platforms fueling a black market for unsafe hotels? By bidding up the price of apartments in popular areas, do short-term rentals mak e metropolitan areas like New York City less affordable? Is the influx of out-of-town visitors upsetting the quiet of longstanding residential neighborhoods?

Until now, t he discourse has centered more on opinions and anecdotes than facts . This report seeks to bridge the gulf between rhetoric and reality. It offers the first exploration of the data on how users in New York City, one of Airbnb’s most important markets, utilize the most successful online lodging rental platform . More broadly, the report endeavors to use quantitative data to inform an ongoing debate about how we embrace emerging, disruptive technologies, while protecting the safety and well-being of our citizens .

By a nalyzing Airbnb bookings for “private” stays, this report presents a snapshot of short-term rentals in New York City from January 1, 2010 through June 2, 2014 (the “Review Period” .

Using Eye Tracking to Obtain a Deeper Understanding of What Drives Online Hotel Choice

September 29, 2014 Comments off

Using Eye Tracking to Obtain a Deeper Understanding of What Drives Online Hotel Choice
Source: Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Center for Hospitality Research

Booking a hotel online involves two major stages, namely, browsing and deliberation (followed by booking a hotel). A study that tracked 32 individuals’ eye movements as they worked on selecting a hotel to book found that during browsing, consumers quickly glance at many hotels (sometimes scrolling but often just taking the first screen) as they check the names and prices of available hotels. During this process, consumers apply personal heuristics to identify hotels that warrant further scrutiny. During the deliberation phase, consumers review more detailed information for the consideration set—usually no more than about seven properties—from which a purchase decision is made. During the browsing stage, consumers fixate primarily on firm-supplied information, including hotel name, images, price, and location, in addition to user ratings. Within the consideration set, consumers fixate most on images, closely followed by firm-provided descriptions. They also fixate on price and room offers, as well as user-generated ratings and reviews.

Free registration required to access report

States with Equal Minimum Wages for Tipped Workers Have Smaller Wage Gaps for Women Overall and Lower Poverty Rates for Tipped Workers

September 18, 2014 Comments off

States with Equal Minimum Wages for Tipped Workers Have Smaller Wage Gaps for Women Overall and Lower Poverty Rates for Tipped Workers
Source: National Women’s Law Center

The federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers has been frozen at $2.13 per hour for 23 years, and now represents less than a third of the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour)—its lowest share on record. The inadequate tipped minimum wage is particularly detrimental to women, who represent two-thirds of tipped workers nationally. Increasing wages for the predominately female workers at the bottom of the pay scale can reduce poverty and help close the wage gap. Raising the federal minimum cash wage for tipped workers—ideally, by eliminating it altogether—is a crucial step toward fair pay for women and economic security for their families.

Exhibiting Efficiency: Cutting Costs as a Conference Attendee

September 5, 2014 Comments off

Exhibiting Efficiency: Cutting Costs as a Conference Attendee
Source: IBISWorld

Attending a conference? Your company will be one of many contributing to the recent rise in US conference attendance. Rising corporate profit is the primary factor supporting this trend; increasing profit empowers companies to spend more capital on conferences and other events. As travel budgets have expanded in the wake of the recession, companies have felt more comfortable sending their employees to conference sites. Conferences take place nationwide, which means that most companies require air travel to attend an event. The increasing number of domestic trips by US residents indicates that travel is becoming more frequent, in part because more companies are visiting conference sites. A similar trend is occurring for inbound trips by non-US residents. International visitors comprise a fifth of conference guests, so growth in international travel boosts the number of attendees admitted at conferences.

As conference attendance rises, companies will be seeking ways to reduce their total attendance costs. Many companies cannot avoid attending conferences, but they can avoid paying more than necessary to attend. While companies do not typically have leeway regarding conference registration fees (aside from taking advantage of early registration discounts), they can control the costs of other factors, including their exhibit displays, display shipping, air travel and hotel rooms.

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