When Proposition 22, the (sadly, successful) initiative to strip gig workers of rights, was on the California ballot in 2020, there was immense news coverage and analysis. As gig companies like Uber and Lyft prepare similar attempts across the country, with the goal of ensuring their workers remain non-employees, a similarly high-profile fight is brewing in Massachusetts, where worker, environmental, and racial justice advocates have formed a coalition to gear up for a major battle as a similar measure comes before voters in November...
On December 9, the European Commission issued a package of proposed regulations of platform work. This legislative initiative came after a long period of lobbying, consultation, and research by business groups, unions, and academics on the problems emerging from the entry of platforms into European Union labor markets.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Feb. 10 enacted one of the most momentous workplace rights reforms in more than a decade, and Congress’ most significant legislation against sexual harassment and abuse since the #MeToo women’s movement began five years ago.
The U.S. Senate approved a bill to ban companies from making employees sign away their rights to file a lawsuit over sexual assault or harassment, and to force them to take their claims to confidential arbitration instead. The House of Representatives had passed its version of the bill earlier.
Terri Gerstein, a fellow at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, told me the legislation is an “important first step,” and a major accomplishment, especially given the stark partisan divide in Congress and businesses’ strong interest in keeping disputes out of court.
“I would not understate what a real accomplishment this is, and how meaningful it is to women who have faced harassment and assault,” Gerstein said. “It demonstrates a bipartisan recognition that forced arbitration is unfair to workers and that the secrecy is a problem.”
Organizers of an effort to unionize an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board this week, challenging the company’s right to require employees to attend anti-union presentations at work, a common tactic that is currently considered legal.
Labor advocates have long argued unions should be offered equal time in workplaces to present their own information said Benjamin Sachs, co-director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.
by Terri Gerstein Working Economics Blog Economic Policy Institute
Recent cases brought by state and local enforcers include the recovery of $2 million for workers of a Seattle Domino’s franchisee that underpaid workers and didn’t give required notice of schedules; citation of Massachusetts Family Dollar stores for $1.5 million for thousands of meal break violations; and prosecution of several cases involving egregious violations of wage payment, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation laws.
There is great interest across government, industry, and academia in improving the U.S. innovation system, particularly in light of competitive threats from countries like China. American universities have long been a foundation of U.S. leadership in science, technology, and innovation. As with other U.S....
Workers of color now make up almost a quarter of the state’s workforce in the building trades, their numbers climbing 30 percent from a decade ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But those trends aren’t clear in the state’s track record for hiring workers of color on public construction jobs. And with an infrastructure boom on the horizon fueled by federal funding, labor experts say the state has an opportunity to do better.
Despite a 2016 state mandate requiring all state agencies to track minority workers’ hours on...
Peter McGuire, Portland Press Herald, Maine, Yahoo! News
Since Gov. Janet Mills took office three years ago, the Maine Department of Labor has escalated its pursuit of illegal workplace practices including wage theft, child labor and false record keeping, a significant departure from past practices at the agency.
The department's new approach is modeled on a practice called strategic enforcement, pioneered at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Obama administration.
Generally, the shift to strategic enforcement means proactively working...
Unfortunately, the Covid crisis is not over. We regret that a variety of obstacles blocked us from carrying out the residential Trade Union Program at Harvard this year. We had hoped and began to plan for the program, but it has turned out not to be feasible. Nevertheless, in our effort to continue to support and educate the labor community, we will hold a new set of online workshops providing potent ideas and compelling visions for revitalizing unions and democracy.
The theme for this year’s online workshop is “Democracy Under Attack: What should unions do?” The workshop will...
Dive Brief: President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Friday requiring project labor agreements on federal construction projects over $35 million, according to a White House fact sheet.
The order, which is effective immediately, will impact $262 billion in federal construction contracts and affect nearly 200,000 workers.
Nevertheless, the new executive order does not apply to work funded by grants to non-federal agencies, which includes the bulk of the projects funded under the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a senior official told Reuters.
Mark Erlich, fellow at Harvard's Labor and Worklife Program and retired executive of the New England Carpenters Union, said the advantages of PLAs are many.
COMMENTARY | Although the court struck down the federal government’s Covid-19 vaccine-or-test mandate, there are ways states and localities can protect workers from the virus.
Earlier this month, in a decision that surprised no one who was paying attention, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority blocked an emergency workplace safety rule by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requiring large employers to mandate...
This op-ed discusses the “problematic” new partnership between the tech giant and the Girl Scouts.
Amazon and the Girl Scouts of America recently announced a partnership to “engage girls in STEM.” As part of the program, Amazon fulfillment centers in more than 20 U.S. cities will host “Girl Scout Amazon Tours.” There’s even a special cobranded Amazon-Girl Scouts patch participants will earn.
It might seem an odd partnership for the Girl Scouts, whose mission is to build “girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make...
Many newly unionized employers go discreetly AWOL (or worse) when it comes to negotiating a first contract. Coffee drinkers shouldn’t let Starbucks get away with that.
But even in Buffalo, the battle is far from over. Thursday’s union victory marked perhaps the end of the beginning. Serious challenges remain, including bargaining a first contract. Unfortunately, there are too many ways employers can try to destroy a union even after an election. We need better laws to stop these subtler forms of thwarting...
Management’s old-school battle against its Buffalo baristas’ organizing campaign reveals a failure to recognize how unionization can align the company with its consumers.
Starbucks, like any company whose workers are unionizing, could take a genuinely innovative path. It has the opportunity to become a visionary leader; its executives could use their imagination to move toward a different corporate future. Imagine a Starbucks in 2030 or 2035 that’s known nationally as the unionized coffee chain, with the most stable workforce among all quick-serve restaurants, amazing service, amazing coffee, beloved by a generation of customers, shareholders, and workers.
In her new book, One Fair Wage: Ending the Subminimum Pay in America, Saru Jayaraman shines a light on tipped workers illustrating how the people left out of the fight for a fair minimum wage are society's most marginalized: people of color, many of them immigrants; women...