... But we're working on it!!
We are loving this little union boom happening in Chicago — both for what it promises workers and for how it befuddles traditional employer-leaning publications. The Chicago Tribune, for example, recognizes that workers are turning to unions after two years of realizing that no one should have to “risk [their] life every single day to sell magnets.” Yet despite showing several examples of organizing leading to material gains, the paper makes sure to include a note from employers that the timing was purely coincidental. OK!
Or take Crain’s, leading with the two failed Starbucks unionization votes when announcing the latest unionized location, and failing to include the two Chicago locations that unionized prior. Bless the headline writer, who probably didn’t intend to state the obvious with “Two failed union votes, one win for Starbucks workers in Chicago.” Italics are ours, sentiments are also ours, it is a win for workers.
The Old Town School of Folk Music has hosted so many renditions of Pete Seeger and Billy Bragg songs it’s hard to believe it wasn’t always unionized, but we can now happily say that the unionized teachers are working under a new contract after years of negotiations. Worth holding out to get better pay, more hours and more access to healthcare.
As employees, we used to have a standing rule that we wouldn’t work for any company that chose Microsoft over Google for its email and office software (or PCs over Macs for that matter). Snobbish, sure. But the decision to pay more for something workers liked less really told us all we needed to know. Today, we have remote work for a nice, easy sorting mechanism. If your company isn’t letting people decide where they want to be, it’s probably not going to be a good place to work. And if they’d rather pay for office space than give employees what they want, it’s probably not going to be a successful place to work either.
So, glad to see Allstate has switched to a model where only 1% of the workforce is based in the office. Another 24% is hybrid, but 75% of the workforce? All remote! We’re also living for this little nugget from the CHRO: “Before COVID, we all went to work and pretended everything was perfect. Nothing's perfect. And I think helping people be comfortable with that builds a much better environment.”
Home Products International — a company you’ve likely never heard of but might own things from regardless — is filing for bankruptcy for the second time, after years of layoffs and “consolidations.” Bad news for the employees there, and also bad news for the suppliers it owes money to, some of whom are local.
Nü-wave store credit card company Tandym is getting paid though, specifically $60 million in its latest raise. The startup promises to “democratize” access to branded credit cards, letting smaller ecommerce companies get into the business of offering their customers financial products, which doesn’t seem great to us! It will be hiring another 10 people to join its team of 14.
Journera, a startup that provides marketing data to companies looking to reach potential travelers, added another $10 million to the $11.6 million raised in its Series B, which closed in June 2020. Back then, the company was planning to capitalize on a post-COVID travel boom. Today, it’s planning to capitalize on a post-COVID travel boom.
Rheaply is … reaping the rewards — so sorry, everyone — closing a $20 million funding round set to help the startup expand its platform for reselling office equipment. The benefit for major corporations is not really the money they might earn on the sales, but the carbon footprint they might reduce — far more important for making investors happy.
Which is probably why Hyfé had an oversubscribed pre-seed round, netting the startup $2 million to grow its business, which uses leftover sugar water from food and beverage production to feed mushroom flour — reducing waste and creating food at the same time.
Fingers crossed this trend continues as more and more ESG, or environmental social governance, funds are popping up. The idea behind ESG funds is sound — invest in companies that aren’t actively harming the earth. And short of you know, toppling capitalism, sure, that’s probably about the best you’re going to do. So it’s nice to see the Shedd Aquarium put its endowment to good use, working with Walmart heir Lukas Walton’s Builders Initiative to establish a new ESG investment portfolio that plans to fund conservation. The hope is that the Shedd can invest its money in a way that lets it both profit and passively work toward its goals of protecting our waterways.
Jobs, Glorious Jobs
Managing Editor at Leafly
Bad news is that there are already hundreds of applicants to this job, and it was posted three days ago. Good news is it’s a completely remote journalism* opportunity in cannabis**. At least you can make the case for Chicago as a hub for legal weed businesses, a true fact that just might give you an edge. Best of luck!
*Not that many of these, tbh
**Cannabis, it’s good
Marketing and Outreach Coordinator at Canopy
We worked on the messaging for Canopy’s 10-year relaunch, and they were some of the smartest and most lovely people we have ever partnered with. Not coincidentally, they also happen to design buildings that contribute to the public good, with a focus on community-informed affordable housing — including the first housing complex built specifically for Native residents. They didn’t ask us to say any of this and would no doubt be abashed if they saw it, so if you’re interested in this role, please ask us about it.
Inspiration of the week
“I don’t think I’m over-romanticising to suggest that just as there is something psychologically corrosive about the fact that the lawyer can always bill another six minutes, there is something psychologically healthy about the fact that the farmer can sometimes rest assured that there is nothing useful to be done until the morning.”
—Tim Hartford, on why we’re falling into the billable hour trap and how it rots our brains. With Harvest open in another tab right now, let us tell you — he has a point! When you’re hourly and don’t have a cap on those hours, you can start to judge everything that’s not billable by its opportunity cost. Even if that thing is “taking a shower” or “eating real food.”
Forward this email to anyone who’s looking to bill another hour. They can sign up here to get a twice-monthly reminder that it has to stop.