News & Commentary

June 21, 2024

Esther Ritchin

Esther Ritchin is a student at Harvard Law School.

In today’s news and commentary, the Amazon Labor Union voted to affiliate with the Teamsters, a Pennsylvania jury was unable to decide Uber Black drivers are employees, and a recent article questioned the legality of southern governors’ anti-union activities.

On June 18, the Amazon Labor Union voted to affiliate with the Teamsters. The vote was overwhelming, with 98.3% members of ALU voting for the affiliation. This affiliation creates a new local chapter within the Teamsters, which will be known as Amazon Labor Union No. 1, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (ALU-IBT Local 1). The next step is for Amazon workers to vote on their union leadership, which will happen this summer.

A jury in Pennsylvania was unable to determine if Uber Black drivers (professional drivers using luxury cars) were employees or independent contractors. The trial had resulted in a hung jury earlier this year, leading the judge to ask these jurors to separately assess each legal factor determining an employment relationship. While the jury was able to unanimously decide that some factors indicated that some of the drivers were employees, they were unable to reach a conclusion on all the factors. The judge is allowing attorneys to respond to the verdict, and then will fashion a judgment based on the jury verdict.

A recent article calls into question the legality of the actions of six southern governors who signed a statement condemning the United Auto Workers’ union drive at auto plants in the south, three of whom signed laws that would ban employers who voluntarily recognized unions from receiving state economic economic development subsidies. Citing work by Ben Sachs, the article questions whether the involvement of anti-union politicians illegally interfered with worker rights to a free and fair election, which could prompt the National Labor Relations Board to invalidate elections at auto plants in the south and order a new vote.

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