It was only in May when Mark Zuckerberg told the graduating class at Harvard University that the United States should explore the option of a universal basic income. The concept, which countries like Brazil, Denmark and Canada are testing, promises citizens a paycheck regardless of employment, wealth, job status and other factors, according to CNN Money.
In his speech, Zuckerberg said such a basic income for all the citizens will give people an option to explore new ideas since they would have a financial cushion to do so. Now, just 2 months after giving that speech, Latino contract cafeteria workers at Facebook’s world headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., have joined UNITE HERE Local 19, a union representing workers in northern California.
The workers, who are employed by Flagship Facility Services, joined the union to negotiate better pay and affordable benefits in an area of the country that is becoming more and more expensive to live in. Mercury News reports that some of the employees are only able to afford to live in garages with their families to be closer to work.
“Their quest for a better life in Silicon Valley is what moved them to unionize,” Enrique Fernandez, the business manager for UNITE HERE Local 19 told Mercury News.
The Guardian reports that a spokesperson for Facebook says the company looks forward to working with the union to address the contractors’ concerns. The spokesperson also expressed that the tech company is committed to providing a “safe, fair work environment to everyone who helps Facebook bring the world closer together, including contractors.”
Trump, who tweeted this statement out earlier today, could be doing it to deflect attention from his embattled administration. It’s a tactic that he appears to employ often. For example, yesterday Trump tweeted that transgender people will no longer be able to serve in the military. He didn’t give any more information about it. The U.S. Joint Chiefs were not given notice about the ban. Trump just sent out a tweet and that was the end of it.
Trump’s statements on MS-13 are being interpreted by some as a tactic to control the narrative about his administration.
The WH, grasping for accomplishments, has put major focus on making MS-13 a widely known scourge, to talk about efforts to crush the gang.
Although MS-13 is a violent gang with thousands of members, Trump’s statements appear to imply that they are a significant source of this country’s violence. Painting the gang as a “widely known scourge,” as journalist Adrian Carrasquillo described it, gives the Trump administration a clear “enemy” that they can battle against.
Earlier this week, Trump lumped undocumented immigrants and MS-13 gang members together at a rally in Ohio, saying “illegal gang members” were “animals.”
“And you’ve seen the stories about some of these animals. They don’t want to use guns, because it’s too fast and it’s not painful enough. So they’ll take a young, beautiful girl—16, 15 and others—and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die. And these are the animals that we’ve been protecting for so long. Well, they’re not being protected anymore, folks.”
The Trump administration’s rhetoric about a supposed rising threat from MS-13 in the U.S. isn’t backed by statistics. For starters, violence has decreased considerably since the ’90s, despite a recent overall increase.
CREDIT: Major Cities Chiefs Association
Darrel Stephens, executive director of Major Cities Chiefs Association, told Time Magazine that it’s too soon to tell if our current increase in violence will be a trend because it takes criminologists about three to five years of data to get an overall picture.
“The evidence that immigrants tend not to be criminals is overwhelming,” reports The American Immigration Council. “To begin with, there is an inverse relationship between crime and immigration. Crime rates in the United States have trended downward for many years at the same time that the number of immigrants has grown. Second, immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than the native-born. And, third, immigrants are less likely than the native-born to engage in the criminal behaviors that tend to land one in prison. No matter how you look at the issue, the inescapable conclusion is that immigrants are, on average, less prone to criminality than the U.S. native-born population.”
But it appears that’s not what Trump would have you believe.