In today’s News & Commentary, public approval of labor unions has reached a record high and Seattle’s independent contractors have new rights starting this Thursday.
A Gallup poll released on Tuesday reports that 71% of Americans support labor unions—the highest approval rating since 1965. The trend toward union support started with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the same annual poll, public approval rose from 64% pre-pandemic to 68% last year. It continues to rise. Several commentators point to increased labor organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic to explain this boost in public support. In particular, unionization at highly visible U.S. corporations like Starbucks, Amazon, and Chipotle may be the cause of this upswing. The poll yielded other insights. While public support may be on the rise, many nonunion workers are hesitant to join a union. Just over half of nonunion workers (58%) surveyed did not express interest in unionizing, presenting a potential challenge for organized labor. However, those in unions value their union affiliation: 2 out of every 5 union members reported that their union membership is “extremely important.” These findings come from Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll. This phone-based poll was conducted from August 1-23 using a random sample of approximately 1,000 U.S. adults.
This week, independent contractors in Seattle will exercise new rights. Seattle’s Independent Contractor Protection Ordinance takes effect this Thursday. Passed in June of 2021, this ordinance extends new rights related to disclosure and timely compensation to the city’s independent contractors. Starting Thursday, those hiring independent contractors must provide a “pre–work written notice” detailing the terms and conditions of the contract. They must also pay contractors pursuant to the written notice or within 30 days of completing the work and must document payments made to independent contractors. The city of Seattle has released several resources to help the public, including a Fact Sheet on the law, a Notice of Rights for workers, and a sample pre-work written notice.