Posts tagged Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee
Julie Su: At Big Labor’s beck and call
May 1, 2023 // While at the LWDA, she supported anti-worker laws like AB 5, a law that reclassified contractors and freelancers as regular employees. The implementation of AB 5, which happened under Su’s watch, was perceived as heavy-handed and punitive towards contractors and freelancers. Su openly stated that she was willing to conduct “investigations and audits” to enforce reclassification, which negatively affected contractors and freelancers. But contractors and freelancers disagreed with Su’s interpretation of AB 5’s effects on workers. An independent truck driver, who was forced to reclassify after AB 5’s passage, said that AB 5 will “kill the liberty of being a trucker” because of all the “regulatory stuff in an over-regulated and complex industry.”
Senate panel advances Biden Labor nominee Julie Su
April 26, 2023 // “Today’s party-line vote is another reminder that Julie Su is no Marty Walsh, who advanced in a bipartisan 18-4 vote only two years ago,” said Michael Layman, a top lobbyist at the International Franchise Association, in a statement following Wednesday’s vote. The AFL-CIO is fighting back, running ads in Arizona and D.C. backing Su’s efforts to counter wage theft in California. The ads tell viewers that workers are “tired of getting ripped off by big corporations.” The labor federation is also mobilizing its members to lobby senators. “We’re going to defend Julie against these baseless corporate special interests attacks,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler told reporters last week. “Every senator, especially those that haven’t yet said that they’ll vote yes, needs to be aware of how much this confirmation means to working people’s lives.”
Julie Su, AB-5 Supporter and Inexperienced Nominee, Faces Criticism for Handling of California’s Unemployment Program
April 26, 2023 // Katy Grimes of the California Globe provides a detailed report. On February 28, when Biden nominated Su, California owed $18,868,506,716.36 to the federal government for unemployment benefits during the pandemic. By the time of Su’s hearing last week, the figure was $19,258,996,070.59, an increase of $390 million. Julie Su oversaw the unemployment program but blamed the Trump administration for the $40 billion loss. Su did not correct false claims that California had one of the lowest fraud rates under her leadership. Su also claimed that 95 percent of the fraud was related to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). As Grimes notes, California spent about $25 billion in PUA and lost about $40 billion overall, a fraud rate of almost 160 percent. So Su’s claim was false.
Virginia is battleground in baristas’ organizing fight
April 18, 2023 // The biggest morale boost for Richmond Starbucks barista Tyler Hofmann is when customers make up names like “union solidarity” to identify their orders. “It gets printed out and [employees] have to call out union stuff in the café,” he said. That opens up an opportunity for discussion about workers’ ongoing grievances against the specialty coffee giant. Hofmann is working at Starbucks again after having been fired last May in what his union and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) claimed was illegal retaliation for his organizing efforts at the Richmond store. A private settlement was reached between the company and the regional board of the Workers United union, according to the NLRB, and Hofmann was reinstated.
Starbucks CEO to testify before Senate over opposition to stores unionizing
March 8, 2023 // Starbucks initially pushed back on efforts to compel Schultz to testify before the US Senate Help committee, offering other Starbucks executives in lieu of Schultz. Sanders criticized Starbucks’ response. Starbucks Workers United has called out Schultz on social media, using a #DearHoward hashtag to criticize how Starbucks has responded to unionization efforts and its impact on workers in anticipation of the Senate testimony.
Opinion: Let’s Continue to Fight for Freelancers
February 24, 2023 // New Senate HELP Committee Chairman and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is eager to reintroduce the PRO Act in the chamber soon. The bill’s most recent version contained the following provisions: an ABC test that deems most workers employees and not independent contractors; a statute to abolish right-to-work; making union membership conditional for employment; and giving unions unfettered access to private worker information.
Starbucks CEO says things have gone sour for young people
February 24, 2023 // As of mid-February, the National Labor Relations Board has certified 282 stores that voted to unionize, and 56 that voted against. There are about 9,300 US company-operated Starbucks stores, and a relatively small number have voted to unionize. To Schultz, this means that the vast majority of workers at Starbucks stores are happy with how things are. When Schultz re-joined the company last year, he spent months visiting with employees as part of a listening tour that helped him develop a new roadmap for the company, which he said had “lost its way.” “I’ve talked to thousands of our Starbucks partners,” he told Harlow. “I was shocked, stunned to hear the loneliness, the anxiety, the fracturing of trust in government, fracturing of trust in companies, fracturing of trust in families, the lack of hope in terms of opportunity.” American companies are “faced with unionization because [workers are] upset, not so much with the company, but the situation.”
Starbucks workers contend company is busting unions. ‘This will be a priority for me,’ congressman says.
February 21, 2023 // Since then, the congressman’s staff has been in touch with the company, whose representatives have told them that Starbucks is allowing workers to exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. Khanna told the employees on Friday that he has corresponded with new Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan and expects to meet with him after he takes over April 1. “I’m hopeful that between the approach to him and the approach to some of the board members, who I know, that they may see the light — allowing for reasonable unionization and reasonable terms,” Khanna said. He mentioned that Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -2.29% last year came to a neutrality agreement with the Communications Workers of America; Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is a Starbucks board member.
In new role, Sanders demands answers from Starbucks’ Schultz
February 16, 2023 // Sanders’ demand for testimony from Schultz is an opening act in his new role as chairman of the HELP panel, which has expansive jurisdiction over issues that have been central to his more than four decades in public service. And thanks to Democrats adding a seat to their majority in last year's election, Sanders can fully exercise the oversight powers of the gavel and potentially issue subpoenas without Republican support. Sanders said he’s not done challenging individual corporations, mentioning Amazon as another company he believes has acted illegally against unions. And “if you are a multinational pharmaceutical company that’s been ripping off the American people and charging us outrageously high prices, you should be nervous, because I’m going to hold you accountable,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I’m going to do something about it.”