Andrea Hsu

Andrea Hsu is NPR's labor and workplace correspondent.

Hsu first joined NPR in 2002 and spent nearly two decades as a producer for All Things Considered. Through interviews and in-depth series, she's covered topics ranging from America's opioid epidemic to emerging research at the intersection of music and the brain. She led the award-winning NPR team that happened to be in Sichuan Province, China, when a massive earthquake struck in 2008. In the coronavirus pandemic, she reported a series of stories on the pandemic's uneven toll on women, capturing the angst that women and especially mothers were experiencing across the country, alone. Hsu came to NPR via National Geographic, the BBC, and the long-shuttered Jumping Cow Coffee House.

When Pam Goble first heard that President Biden was mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers, she had one thought: It's about time.

Goble is owner and CEO of Ability HomeCare, a pediatric home health care agency serving 900 children in San Antonio, Texas.

Of her 261 nurses and therapists, 56 have declined to get the vaccine.

Ahmad Zai Ahmadi was just a teenager when he ran into a group of U.S. Marines at a bazaar in his hometown of Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2003.

"I just started saying, 'Hi' and 'How are you,' and they say, 'OK, you speak English. Do you want to be translating for us?' I say, 'Of course, yes!' " recalls Ahmadi, now 36.

He went on to work as an interpreter for U.S. forces for nearly a decade, a job that took him all over Afghanistan. He forged friendships with U.S. service members, including a number of high-ranking officers. His nickname was Rock.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For a lot of workers, it's been a year of questions about the future. And that's also true of office workers, who may not be on the front lines but have still had to adjust to new realities. If you're someone who's been working from home, you might now be asking, can I continue to do so? Can I split my time between home and office permanently? NPR's Life Kit has been thinking about the shift to a hybrid work schedule and has some tips on how to make it work.

Here's NPR's Andrea Hsu.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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In a move to further protect workers and customers from COVID-19, United Airlines has told employees who are seeking religious or medical exemptions to the company's vaccine mandate that even if approved, they will be put on temporary leave starting Oct. 2 while the company works to institute safety measures for unvaccinated employees.

Employees granted religious exemptions will be placed on temporary, unpaid personal leave, and those granted medical exemptions will be placed on temporary medical leave, according to an internal memo.

When Norma Jasso first started working from home in March 2020, she thought it was fun.

"I could wake up later, not have to commute, not have to put my pumps and my working clothes on," says Jasso, who was a regulatory case manager for San Diego Gas and Electric.

But soon, her days grew longer. She found herself checking email at odd hours. She missed her colleagues. She'd been with the utility for 23 years and found joy being around people.

In mid-July, David Bronner of Dr. Bronner's soaps looked at the vaccination rate among his workers. It had reached 60% — not bad, Bronner says, but not high enough given the rapid spread of the delta variant.

Bronner is CEO of Dr. Bronner's, the natural soap company known for its counterculture roots and the ramblings covering its labels in tiny print.

He was reluctant to impose a vaccine mandate on his 300 employees.

"We don't want to create bad vibes and ill will," he says.

For many, yoga is a source of calm and healing.

Those who teach do so because they love the practice, often finding it spiritually rewarding.

But it's also a business. And sometimes, a cutthroat one.

Eighteen years ago, when Justine Cohen opened the Down Under School of Yoga in Boston, poaching was rampant, she says.

"Teachers walking in with clipboards and gathering names and then opening literally upstairs or next door," Cohen says.

Crystal Rogers, owner of Cozy Couch Family Day Care in Martinsburg, W.Va., finally feels appreciated. It took the pandemic to make that happen.

For too long, she says, society has looked down on day care — as somehow less worthy than school. And no wonder. Child care is one of the lowest paid occupations in America.

"We're not baby sitters ... I've been wanting to say that," Rogers says. "We go to trainings. We do all the things that a professional child care provider does."

For a while there, it seemed like things were finally heading back to normal. Now, not so much.

In the span of just a week, plans for a September return to the office have been pushed back. Mask mandates have made a comeback. And a growing number of employers, including the federal government, are laying down the line on vaccines.

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