Posts tagged gig economy

    From Hollywood to auto work, organized labor is flexing its muscles. Where do unions stand today?

    November 9, 2023 // There are also limits for organizers under current labor law. That means that what worked in auto workers' labor campaign, for example, may not look the same or be possible in other industries. Larger, more established unions typically have more bargaining power — and that's reflected in new contract wins seen today. “We have a labor law that was designed in the era in the 30s and 40s, when auto plants of 10,000 workers (were organizing)," he said. Starbucks is “split into these small coffee shops of 15 workers. ... They need to join together to have any kind of bargaining power against a big employer. But our labor law isn’t structured to help them do that,” Colvin said. Service jobs can also be hard to organize due to part-time work and high turnover rates. The same can be said for Amazon warehouses, where there have been pushes for unions.

    Unions’ power ebbs and flows

    November 6, 2023 // Unionization efforts have expanded but many are taking place where there is little history of organized labor, creating a higher bar for workers. Colvin points to Starbucks workers who have seen union drives clipped in the last year. Starbucks has been accused of chilling organization by closing unionized stores and firing pro-union workers. There are also limits for organizers under current labor law. That means that what worked in the auto workers' labor campaign, for example, may not be possible for other industries.

    Will Biden Labor Nominee Julie Su Suffocate the Gig Economy?

    October 13, 2023 // Su, and other progressives like Federal Trade Commissioner Lina Khan, want to force a 20th century model of a heavily regulated and controlled labor market on the 21st century gig economy. They also want to impose 20th century style trade unionism, replete with mandatory union dues that (coincidentally I am sure) can in part be used to support progressive candidates and causes in the gig workforce. This is one reason why a bipartisan majority of the Senate is right to oppose Su’s nomination, and why President Biden was wrong to nominate her as Labor Secretary, and certainly wrong to defy the will of the Senate by keeping her as acting Secretary for an indefinite period of time. Biden should pick a new nominee. While no one nominated by Biden will support a free-market labor policy, the nominee should at least understand that massive federal regulations on the labor markets and compulsory unionism are relics that do not fit the economy of the future.

    Labor leader Shuler touts union support as possible auto strikes loom

    September 1, 2023 // Unions would support President Joe Biden in his reelection campaign next year, Shuler said, praising the president’s work to deliver federal infrastructure spending. Biden campaigned on infrastructure improvements and supported the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law Congress passed in 2021. The law supports millions of jobs, she said, not only in construction and transportation but in the service industry as well. Every job created by the federal spending should be a union position, Shuler said.

    California’s on the cusp of transforming America’s fast food industry — again

    August 16, 2023 // “Because it’s so many stores, and going store to store would be difficult, the path to unionization here is basically through legislation,” said Brandon Dawkins, SEIU 1021 vice president of organizing. “After we get the council together and force the employer to the table, then the unions — we can come in and really sit down and negotiate with the corporations to, number one, create a union and, number two, address issues like safety and wage theft.” A labor council’s purview extends to workplace conditions like predictable scheduling — a longstanding goal for labor — noted California Labor Federation Executive Officer Lorena Gonzalez, a former state lawmaker who carried an earlier version of the bill when she served in the state Assembly. “If you get joint employer liability, it’s more likely McDonald’s would want to talk about a national agreement or strategy because now they’re on the hook for every labor violation,” Gonzalez said. That tactic has angered restaurant operators who have rallied against the legislation. Marisol Sanchez, a second-generation McDonald’s franchise owner, has appeared in advertising opposing the 2023 bill. Sanchez said she believed SEIU was acting on its own political agenda rather than in response to worker demands.

    Hotel Workers Strike against Scab Staffing App and Anti-Black Racism

    August 2, 2023 // Bradley said he’s been trying to get a permanent hotel job for more than a decade, and suggested that discrimination was the reason he was passed over. “I think I’ve proven myself, and it’s still not enough,” he said. UNITE HERE has negotiated contract language to push hotels to hire Black workers, starting in Local 1 in Chicago in 2006, with similar language in contracts in Boston and Los Angeles. “Often we’re put against each other, right?” said Briceño. “So through all these years that we’ve been bargaining, we take the opportunity to educate our top leaders, folks that come to the negotiation, to understand the need to speak with one voice for the workers and the inclusion of Black workers.”

    Rolling rally highlights push for Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize

    July 13, 2023 // The industry-backed group Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work, which has also rallied drivers at the State House this year, says many drivers prefer the independence that comes with contractor status. The group favors one bill that would establish drivers as independent contractors while also providing some new benefits, and another that would create company-funded “portable benefit accounts” for drivers. Conor Yunits, spokesman for the Massachusetts Coalition for Independent Work, said in a statement to GBH News that unionization bill “would force drivers to become employees for all intents and purposes,” and that his group will “continue to encourage the legislature to bring all parties to the table to find a compromise that protects the independence that drivers demand and the benefits they deserve.” Other bills on Beacon Hill also propose different strategies for addressing the pay, benefits and classification of gig economy drivers. Lawmakers on a pair of committees, the Financial Services Committee and the Labor and Workforce Development Committee, will hold hearings at some point in the two-year session to explore the issues.

    WGA To Picket Amazon’s “Prime Day” Next Week, Recasting It As “Crime Day”

    July 12, 2023 // The Writers Guild will picket Amazon’s upcoming “Prime Day,” the retail giant’s biggest sales event of the year. Recasting it as “Crime Day,” the guild says it will take to social media to let the company know it “won’t let Amazon turn Hollywood into a gig economy with its Silicon Valley business practices.” The guild, whose strike is now in its 68th day, also will picket Amazon’s Culver Studios on Wednesday.

    OPINION: Sen. Sinema Shouldn’t Let Julie Su Turn Ariz. Into Calif.

    June 5, 2023 // More than one million freelance workers lost work in the wake of AB5’s passage. In response to public outrage, the California legislature carved out scores of politically connected professions from the draconian legislation so that it no longer applied to musicians, translators, writers, photographers, and many others. But big labor’s main targets – independent truckers and the gig economy – are still suffering from AB5’s harsh policy. Even the notoriously left-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has suggested that AB5’s sponsors and enforcers may have had no legitimate policy objectives in mind when granting exemptions to AB5, and instead acted out of "animus" by targeting companies that facilitate vast swaths of independent contracting.

    Opinion: American workers face war on right to earn a living

    May 16, 2023 // The war on independent work harms the most vulnerable in society. We’ve seen it play out in California, with countless stories of livelihoods destroyed. It is no surprise, then, that hundreds of economists, as well as the California NAACP, Black Chamber of Commerce, and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce opposed efforts to limit independent work. With an estimated 50 percent of the nation’s Latino community and 40 percent of the black community engaged in independent work, a national effort to limit these arrangements could put at risk the livelihoods and net income of 20 million workers from these communities.