2022

Daily Dot logo

Some forced birth with your venti latte?’: Starbucks boasts it will provide reimbursement for workers to get abortions—unless they are a union shop

June 28, 2022

Jacob Seitz
Daily Dot

“Want some forced birth with your venti latte?” wrote Terri Gerstein, a workers’ rights lawyer. “Starbucks is leveraging Roe’s fall in support of its union-busting. Says it’ll provide access to abortion travel to employees but can’t promise that to workers in stores unionized w @SBWorkersUnited.  Shameful!!”

A Starbucks organizer pointed out that not only was the company not...

Read more about Some forced birth with your venti latte?’: Starbucks boasts it will provide reimbursement for workers to get abortions—unless they are a union shop
logo Route Fifty

How Local Governments Are Advancing Workers’ Rights, and Why Even More Should Get Involved

June 28, 2022

Terri Gerstein and LiJia Gong
Route Fifty

There’s a notable surge of action by cities and other localities in advancing workers’ rights, as documented in a report we wrote that was issued recently. Some cities and counties are now seeing worker protection as one of their core functions. 

More cities and localities should become champions for the working people in their jurisdictions. Local leaders—from mayors and city councilors to agency heads and longtime civil servant managers—should consider how they can use their powers to drive workplace justice....

Read more about How Local Governments Are Advancing Workers’ Rights, and Why Even More Should Get Involved
Union Density and the Post-Roe Crisis

Union Density and the Post-Roe Crisis

June 28, 2022

Sharon Block
OnLabor Blog

The states with the lowest union density generally have the lowest possible minimum wage, no state-mandated paid sick or family leave and have poverty rates above the national average. Conversely, states with the highest union density generally have among the highest minimum wage levels in the country, ensure access to paid sick or family leave and have lower-than-average poverty rates. 

Put simply, the presence of unions in a state correlates with low-wage workers being economically better able to care for themselves and their...

Read more about Union Density and the Post-Roe Crisis
A New Sense of Possibility: Starbucks and Amazon Wins Inspire Organizing at Trader Joe's, REI, Target, and Apple

A New Sense of Possibility: Starbucks and Amazon Wins Inspire Organizing at Trader Joe's, REI, Target, and Apple

June 30, 2022

Dan DiMaggioAngela Bunay
Labor Notes

“Seven months ago if you asked me about a union I would’ve said, ‘I don’t know, cops have them?’” says Sarah Pappin, a shift supervisor at a Seattle Starbucks. But on June 6, she and her co-workers voted unanimously to join Starbucks Workers United, part of an upsurge of organizing by younger workers with little union experience that is breathing new life into the labor movement.

Now they’re dreaming even...

Read more about A New Sense of Possibility: Starbucks and Amazon Wins Inspire Organizing at Trader Joe's, REI, Target, and Apple
Nob Hill Gazette logo

Robots at the Ready

June 9, 2022

Carolyn Jung
Nob Hill Gazette

Between the pandemic and the labor shortage, automation is having a moment. As help wanted signs remain pervasive, could robots hold the solution — or even a partial one — to the Great American Labor Shortage rocking the hospitality industry? After all, they don’t get sick (though they may break down), take vacation time or need to earn enough to afford the Bay Area’s astronomical housing costs.“It’s possible at some unknown future time that robots will replace humans, but we’re pretty far away from that,” says professor Richard...

Read more about Robots at the Ready
American Prospect Logo

In Massachusetts, a Limit on Gig Companies’ Deceptions

June 17, 2022

Terrie Gerstein
American Prospect

On Tuesday, the highest court in Massachusetts struck down a ballot initiative that would have come before voters in November. The initiative, funded by such gig companies as Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, sought to designate workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Many Bay State voters doubtless heaved a sigh of relief: Now they won’t face the overblown, misleading campaign that 2020 California voters encountered in those companies’ campaign for Proposition 22, a similar initiative. More importantly, Tuesday’s court decision means that workers’ rights will remain protected in Massachusetts for the near future.... Read more about In Massachusetts, a Limit on Gig Companies’ Deceptions

Terri Gerstein and LiJia Gong. 6/13/2022. The role of local government in protecting workers’ rights. Economic Policy Institute and Labor and Worklife Program.Abstract
What this report finds: In recent years, cities, counties, and other localities have become innovators and leaders in standing up for working people. A number of localities have come to view protecting workers and improving their working conditions as part of their core municipal function. Some of the most noteworthy ways in which localities have taken action on behalf of working people in recent years include: 

 

  • establishing dedicated local labor standards offices that enforce workers’ rights laws 
  • establishing ongoing worker boards or councils 
  • passing local worker protection laws
  • actively enforcing local worker protection laws 
  • setting job quality standards for contractors with the municipal government 
  • establishing legal consequences for labor violations among applicants for municipal permits or licenses 
  • practicing high-road employment principles in relation to municipal employees
  • championing worker issues through public leadership 

While other reports have done an excellent job of exploring local action on specific issues like paid sick leave, living wages, and creation of worker boards, this report identifies and examines the broader trend of increased local action and analyzes the landscape of cities and other localities’ pro-worker actions in a comprehensive way.

Why it matters: Policies and enforcement that protect the rights of workers, ensure workers are able to meet their basic needs, and support workers’ efforts to organize are foundational to building healthy, thriving, and equitable communities. Working people in the United States today face multiple crisis situations that not only adversely impact their well-being, but also undermine the health and well-being of communities. Outdated labor laws are skewed against workers trying to form and join unions, and workers who try often face retaliation and other violations by employers. Public enforcement resources are inadequate, and workers are increasingly unable to bring their claims in court because of forced arbitration. In this context, cities and localities are vitally important and necessary actors in the effort to expand and enforce workers’ rights. They are close to their residents, and often are nimble and fast-moving in responding to emerging needs. A few cities (along with a few states) are also at the vanguard of innovating on policy and piloting new approaches to expanding and protecting workers’ rights. There is very meaningful work currently happening at the local level, with untapped potential for much more local action. 

bloomberg law logo

Starbucks CEO’s Anti-Union Comments Straddle Line of Legality

June 14, 2022

Robert Iafolla
Bloomberg Law

Starbucks Corp. CEO Howard Schultz’s disparaging comments about workers’ organizing efforts escalated a lengthy battle with employees who have unionized at 150 stores nationwide.

Workers United alleges Schultz’s recent interview with New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin demonstrates the company won’t bargain in good faith with unionized employees. It’s the fourth time the union has filed a charge with labor regulators over the Starbucks chief’s statements....

Read more about Starbucks CEO’s Anti-Union Comments Straddle Line of Legality
Logo marketplace morning report

What does a recent Supreme Court ruling on forced arbitration mean for workers?

June 7, 2022

Meghan McCarty Carino
Morning Marketplace Report

The Supreme Court on Monday decided a case that limits – in a small way – the use of forced arbitration by employers. The high court ruled that Southwest Airlines could not force an airline baggage handler to resolve her complaint about unpaid overtime in private arbitration with the company and instead has the right to sue them in court.

Now the Supreme Court has clarified a question about which workers can be held to arbitration agreements, finding the baggage handler was exempt because she works in...

Read more about What does a recent Supreme Court ruling on forced arbitration mean for workers?
Labor Notes logo

Learning from the Covid Disruption: A Stop/Start/Continue Analysis for Unions

June 1, 2022

Elaine Bernard
Labor Notes

Just about every union activity has been disrupted or transformed. A period of massive disruption, how­ever, is also an opportunity for change. Seeing how quickly some of your long­established practices stopped, and new practices started, demonstrates that change is possible. 

As we (hopefully) emerge from the pandemic, we don't have to return to the way things were. Though the disruption was for an unpleasant reason, maybe some of the changes it prompted were good-they opened new opportunities or helped more members get...

Read more about Learning from the Covid Disruption: A Stop/Start/Continue Analysis for Unions
nY daily news logo

Can’t JetBlue please fly some must-mask planes?: An appeal to NYC’s hometown airline

May 20, 2022

By Terri Gerstein
Opinion
New York Daily News

I’m writing with a simple request: Please create some mask-required flight options for travelers who want them.

Designating some flights on each route mask-required would be easy. There’d be no need to retrofit plane interiors. No passengers would have to don tactical flight suits or special scuba gear. It’d just be a return, for a few select flights, to the rules from two months ago, hardly a staggering burden. Plus, ample mask-optional choices should reduce the horrible...

Read more about Can’t JetBlue please fly some must-mask planes?: An appeal to NYC’s hometown airline
logo for Minnesota Reformer

Commerce Fraud Bureau to get new powers to investigate wage theft, other financial crimes

May 26, 2022

BY: 
Minnesota Reformer

Labor leaders are calling a bill that passed the state House and Senate on Sunday the most significant piece of legislation for combating wage theft since it was made a felony in 2019.

The bill (HF 3255), which is awaiting Gov. Tim Walz’s signature, gives the Commerce Fraud Bureau new powers to criminally investigate financial crimes along with more than $800,000 a year to hire five more investigators.

By and large, though, treating labor abuses like wage theft as criminal matters is a relatively new phenomenon, says Terri Gerstein, a labor lawyer at Harvard Law School who has studied the rise of prosecutions of employers.... Read more about Commerce Fraud Bureau to get new powers to investigate wage theft, other financial crimes

bloomberg law logo

Amazon and Starbucks Aren’t Listening to Their Workers

May 26, 2022

Sharon Block
Bloomberg Law

Unionization efforts at Amazon and Starbucks have been regarded with hostility by their CEOs, but Harvard Law School professor Sharon Block suggests the companies should view it differently. She writes that organizing efforts can be seen as a positive sign that workers value their companies enough to try to improve their working conditions rather than job hop, and suggests leaders work with employees to come up with a win-win solution.

Think NBC News logo

Adding salary ranges to job listings stops people from wasting their time

May 16, 2022

Terri Gerstein
Think, NBC News

Laws requiring disclosure of salary ranges in job postings, like other pay transparency laws, reduce gender and race disparities.

Laws requiring disclosure of salary ranges in job postings, like other pay transparency laws, reduce gender and race disparities. Women still earn far less than men — 83 cents to the dollar in 2022 — and this gap is even worse for women of color: Black women made 58 cents on average, and Latina women 49 cents, for every dollar a non-Latino white man earned last year. Research has found that women are...

Read more about Adding salary ranges to job listings stops people from wasting their time

Pages