News & Commentary

June 29, 2023

Linh Tang

Linh is a student at Harvard Law School.

On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board unanimously struck down a settlement between Starbucks and Starbucks Workers United, a union representing its workers in Biddeford, Maine. The settlement stems from original allegations that Starbucks managers were enforcing workplace policies more strictly for union supporters, resulting in disciplinary action against organizers. Concluding that the ALJ had erred in granting the settlement, the Board ruled that the judge had not given proper consideration to the union’s concerns and did not adequately address the alleged unlawful activity.

Several app-based companies, including Lyft, Uber and Doordash, are proposing to lawmakers a federal system that would give independent contractors access to workplace benefits currently unavailable to this class of workers. The proposal was released by Flex, the industry group representing leading app-based rideshare and delivery platforms, on Wednesday. The proposal marks the first time these companies have agreed on a national approach to provide their independent contractors with benefits that have traditionally been denied to workers not classified as employees, such as health benefits, retirement savings, and paid leave.

Texas just passed an unprecedented new law that will prohibit local governments from making local rules that are stronger than the state’s in broad policy areas, including labor, finance, and occupations. The impact of this preemption law will be broad, as private entities will be emboldened to challenge a variety of city laws they don’t like, such as local tenant and worker protection laws. The law, which will take effect on September 1, is the latest effort in a years-long Republican effort to limit the power of Texas’s more progressive metropolitan areas like Dallas, Austin, and Houston. 

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