Today's News and Commentary — March 27, 2017
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced the federation’s opposition to the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Thursday, reports Politico. Last week, Gorsuch faced questioning from Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee for past decisions siding with employers on issues like worker safety, discrimination, and unions. Meanwhile, Committee Republicans have expressed support for Gorsuch, who has defended his decisions as merely following the law.
The New York Times Editorial Board published a piece Sunday arguing that Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, may be focused more on protecting employers rather than promoting the rights of workers. The article cites Acosta’s testimony at his confirmation hearings, particularly that he dodged questions about upholding several Obama-era Labor Department rules, and argues that his failure to answer these questions suggests that he will “embrace the Trump Administration’s demolition approach to sensible regulation.”
Grocery delivery startup Instacart recently agreed to settle a nationwide class action with workers for $4.6 million. According to Buzzfeed News, the suit alleged that the workers were misclassified as independent contractors. Since the original suit was filed, Instacart has reconfigured its workplace so that its in-store shoppers are classified as employees, while delivery drivers remain classified as contractors, although it has also cut wages and made it more difficult for customers to tip. The settlement will not reclassify the drivers as employees, but will facilitate tipping on the Instacart app, and allow workers who have been deactivated to request reconsideration of the deactivation.