Posts tagged benefits

    Opinion: The Biden Administration Should Look to Virginia Democrats For a Better Way to Help Gig Workers

    February 25, 2024 // The concept of coupling the protection of contracting status with a flexible benefits system is an idea that also should appeal to right-leaning policymakers. That’s because such an approach not only helps businesses, but stands to benefit workers by preserving the entrepreneurial flexibility they desire as independent contractors. In addition to this flexibility, it likewise provides workplace protections and benefits that can help these workers weather the exigencies of life—all without the harmful negative impacts of widespread worker reclassification. According to our sources, local Virginia labor unions initially expressed interest in this Democrat-introduced portable benefits model, only to catch flak from their national parent organizations who pressured them to reverse course. Unfortunately, the influence of the national labor brass appears to have doomed the bill for now, although its mere existence suggests that Democratic lawmakers are starting to buck the party’s consensus on worker reclassification.

    REI SoHo workers unionized in 2022, but still don’t have a contract. This play tells their story

    February 21, 2024 // Neill first put on the play, called Foot Wears House, for her coworkers and fellow union members, through a reading at RWDSU’s office. Now, it will be open to the public with a reading at Hudson Park Library on February 24, once again starring members of the REI Soho union. The reading is supported by Working Theater, which is focused on stories for and about working people, and is free to the public, with the option for donations to the REI Union Hardship Fund.

    CSU faculty union approves contract with university that would raise salaries

    February 20, 2024 // “We believe that accepting this deal leaves our economic and social-justice issues inadequately addressed, lets CSU off the hook with no systemic change, and fails to protect our students’ right to an accessible, affordable, high-quality education,” the Vote Down website says. “I felt that we were only just getting started in our power,” said Robin Dodds, a professor at California State L.A. who is involved with a campaign on her campus to vote no on the agreement. “I would prefer to go back to the bargaining table and continue to do better for the union.”

    Let’s Address the Real Challenges for Independent Contractors and Gig Workers

    February 5, 2024 // Self-employment fell by 10.5 percent on average for non-exempt occupations, while overall employment fell by 4.4 percent on average for non-exempt occupations Occupations with a greater prevalence of self-employed workers saw greater reductions in both self-employment and overall employment In other words, on average, 1 in 10 self-employed individuals may have lost self-employment opportunities in California among occupations not exempt from AB5, while there is no evidence of an accompanying increase in traditional employment opportunities among workers in non-exempt occupations.

    OP-ED: Labor Department’s new independent contractor rule is a mess. We need a clear national standard instead.

    February 2, 2024 // This confusion has serious consequences. Worker classification affects not only minimum wages and overtime, but also fringe benefits, taxes, insurance, liability for injuries, and union organizing. It can even implicate antitrust law. So if a business classifies a worker incorrectly, it can face serious legal penalties. And those penalties aren’t just monetary: some states have even made misclassification a crime. And make no mistake, this isn’t only a problem for companies; it’s a problem for workers too. Look no further than what has happened in California. In 2020, the state changed its classification rules to crack down on supposed misclassification. The state’s goal was to shift workers out of independent contracting and into employment. But not only did contracting dry up, so did employment. A new study shows that more than ten percent of contractors and four percent of employees in the affected professions simply lost their jobs. Businesses were so afraid of the new classification rules that they cut opportunities across the board.

    Pro-Worker, Not Pro-Union

    January 31, 2024 // What the Right has often overlooked in this debate is that the protection of independent-worker status can be coupled with a revamping of worker-benefit options. Lack of benefits is frequently cited as the main drawback of independent work. Republicans could burnish their pro-worker credentials, while protecting businesses from reclassification and other draconian left-wing policies, by proposing a flexible benefit setup for contractors and gig workers that has features similar to a SEP-IRA. It would use a system of employer contributions while giving workers the ability to make pre-tax contributions of their own. The funds could be used for benefits such as paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, or even health insurance, some of which could be purchased through newly created worker-benefit exchanges that act as brokerages for the benefits. Benefit-flexibility concepts can be applied as well to retirement savings, even those of noncontract workers. The current system largely relies on employer-based retirement plans, but many workers find it difficult to roll old retirement accounts over to new jobs. That has led to a proliferation of abandoned “orphan” accounts. Automatic portability for retirement accounts would make it possible for more workers to take their accounts with them to new jobs. Also due is a nuanced rethinking of noncompete agreements in labor contracts. While libertarian notions of the freedom of contract have long led right-leaning policy-makers to resist the imposition of restrictions on contractual arrangements, recent years have seen more free-market proponents question the efficacy of noncompetes with respect to their impact on worker freedom and earnings.

    How local labor unions are helping members buy homes

    January 30, 2024 // Through Thompson’s membership in the American Federation of Government Employees, she and Prescod got paired with a real estate agent and a lender, who gave them “incredible” service and got them down payment assistance and an exclusive loan with no private mortgage insurance. Purchase rebates, discounted homeowners insurance, and discounts on moving vans and supplies are among the assistance local unions are offering.

    Hotel Wage Petition Fails to Meet Signature Deadline

    January 29, 2024 // Unite Here Local 11, the union representing thousands of housekeepers, restaurant workers and front desk staff in Southern California and Arizona, filed a petition to raise the minimum wage of hotel workers in Beverly Hills to $30 per hour on July 25. They had 180 days from then to gather signatures from at least 10% of the city’s registered voters, roughly 2,200 residents. The petition was submitted as walkouts and picket lines formed at about 60 hotels throughout Southern California, including the three unionized hotels in Beverly Hills: the Beverly Hilton, Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel. The demonstrations drew widespread media coverage that helped build support for striking workers, and tentative agreements between the management of those three properties and Unite Here were reached in December. Union members must vote to ratify the deals before they are confirmed. Details regarding pay and benefits in the deal brokered by Unite Here and the hotels had not been publicly released as of press time.

    Commentary: How The Teachers Unions Embed Socialism Into Their Contracts

    January 28, 2024 // This new, covert strategy, hidden in plain sight, allows state and municipal officials to create sweeping policy changes that evade the scrutiny typically associated with customary legislative procedures, which include publicly available draft legislation, committee hearings, amendments and comprehensive floor debates. In Boston, teachers’ union president Jessica Tang announced they secured “an unprecedented $50 million to commence bolstering the affordable housing that Boston students and families require.” Similarly, Los Angeles teachers incorporated “housing justice provisions” into their contracts.