In a move to express solidarity with Uber Drivers, Uniting Church told its workers yesterday to stop using Uber, citing the company’s “unethical foundations.” The Church is the largest non-government provider of services to the community in all of Australia. The Church pointed to the recent “Uber Files” report and Uber’s practices of mistreating its drivers and avoiding its taxes. The Guardian reports that several other large organizations in Australia are considering similar freezes on using Uber’s services. Expectedly, Uber expressed dismay at the announcement. Pre-emptive boycotts such as this have a long and controversial history in labor movements, even absent active strikes.
In other news, Jonathan Harkavy recently published a publicly-available review of the Supreme Court’s recent term from an employment law perspective. The article summarizes and offers commentary on each employment-related decision of the 2021 Term, including dissents from denial of certiorari and emergency filings. It then previews the upcoming employment-related docket based on grants of certiorari. The article concludes with reflections situating the recent decisions in the broader labor and employment movements, providing a useful tool for followers of key labor and employment law developments.
Finally, More Perfect Union reports that railroad union leaders were disappointed by the contract recommendations issues by President Biden’s emergency board. The board was appointed to help resolve a three-year negotiation impasse during which union leaders were unable to agree on a contract with the largest railroad carriers in the nation. Nearly 115,000 workers have been without raises for three years and their union leaders came to the table asking for wage and benefits increases. Without an agreement by September 16, the workers can call for a national strike and the railroads can lock out workers. Seeking to avoid this outcome, Biden appointed the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB), which sought a compromise solution. While it recommended wage and benefits increases, the PEB’s proposals fell short of worker’s demands and were coupled with potential increases in healthcare costs as well. Union leaders were also disappointed by the plethora of issues on which the PEB simply did not take a position and instead recommended further negotiations or binding arbitration, which many view as a “guaranteed loss.” Workers called the recommendations “a slap in the face,” while the railroads indicated they would be willing to accept the proposed agreements. For now, a thirty-day period commences in which both sides consider whether to accept the proposals or negotiate further.