It’s valuable to realize at the outset of the conversation that what states are grappling with, from California to Massachusetts, everywhere, it’s not just in relation to gig workers, it’s also in relation to this broader issue of who’s an employee, and entitled to all of the protections that our social contract and our laws have said that employers have to follow, and who’s an independent contractor and really running their own business.
If signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, the law would allow hundreds of thousands of fast food workers to bargain collectively over the terms of their work at large companies across the sector, rather than be forced to form a union at a single workplace and negotiate with one employer at a time. Using a newly created state-level council, California could raise pay and improve working conditions for the industry.
"It's really significant because it's giving fast food workers a seat at the table on a sector-wide basis," Sharon Block, the executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard University Law School, told ABC News.
More than 200 Starbucks have now unionized across the country as well as two Trader Joe’s and an Apple store. The shop-by-shop approach creates a constant drumbeat of union activity, though each of these drives involves a relatively small number of workers.
“It’s simply easier to do,” he said, involving far fewer logistical challenges. Workers can even undertake organizing small workplaces on their own, without the resources of a powerful union. It’s...
The fate of President Joe Biden’s agenda could soon rest with the administrator of a tiny office deep within the White House.
“OIRA is always at the center of administrative activity — the joke is it’s the most powerful agency nobody’s ever heard of,” said Sharon Block, who served as its acting chief through Biden’s first year. “Now, it becomes even more important.”
States’ attempts to ensure employees can take their workplace disputes to court are seeing their efforts chipped away by the US Supreme Court.
The US Supreme Court has consistently held employers can enforce individual arbitration agreements as well as class action language prohibiting an employee class from launching a collective complaint through arbitration against an employer.
The arbitration-friendly rulings have led more employers to use the agreements in an attempt to mitigate exposures to expensive jury-trial...
Inflation is a big problem these days. Prices are rising for everything from bacon to rent to hotel rooms. And while the Federal Reserve announced aggressive measures to curb costs last week, not all economists believe this is the best approach for helping working people.
One thing is clear: rising wages aren’t responsible for recent inflation. In fact, wage growth has actually lagged behind inflation rates, dampening upward pressure on prices.
The lingering low federal minimum wage drags down...