News & Commentary

October 12, 2022

Sarah Leadem

Sarah Leadem is a joint degree candidate at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

In today’s news & commentary, the Department of Labor announced a proposed rule on employee classification, the President of the Los Angeles Labor Federation resigned, and Amazon workers begin their union vote in Schodack, NY.

Yesterday, the Department of Labor announced a proposed rule for employee classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act. This action rescinds the Trump 2021 Independent Contractor Rule and returns to an Obama-era rule for employee classification. At its most basic, this changes the test used to determine whether a worker should be rightfully classified as an employee. It returns to the “economic reality test.” This test weighs a number of factors to determine employee status, including the degree of employer control and how integral the work is to the employer’s business. The Department announced this action as a step toward curbing employee misclassification. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Registrar tomorrow. It is followed by a 45-day public comment period

President of the Los Angeles Labor Federation, Ron Herrera, announced his resignation yesterday. His resignation comes as the result of a leaked audio recording of a conversation between Herrera and several Los Angeles City Councilmembers. In the recording, several participants made racist and derogatory comments. California Labor Federation President Lorena Gonzalez commented in a tweet: “We ultimately prioritize working class solidarity across all racial groups above all else. It’s now time for our labor movement to come together and start the work to heal.” Ron Herrera is succeeded by Thomas Davis from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts.

Amazon workers in Schodack, NY begin voting today to unionize. The Schodack “ALB1” Amazon Fulfillment Center will be the third warehouse to take a union vote to join the Amazon Labor Union. Workers in the warehouse allege that Amazon has mounted an aggressive anti-union campaign. Data from OSHA also recently showed that the Schodack fulfillment center has the most serious worker injuries among all New York Amazon warehouses. Voting begins today and will continue through Monday. The NLRB is set to tally the votes on October 18th. 

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