Today’s News & Commentary –– August 4, 2015

Published August 4th, 2015 -  - 08.04.151


Six of the 400 Uber drivers who previously agreed to testify on Uber’s behalf in the forthcoming California federal classification suit have changed their minds, and have submitted new court declarations saying Uber misled them about the difference between employees and contractors.  Re/Code notes that the drivers spoke with attorneys representing plaintiffs in the suit, and their declarations ended with the statement: “I was not informed that the case challenged our not receiving tips that passengers were told were included in the fare, nor was I told that, if the case was successful, there was a possibility of my being reimbursed for expenses such as a mileage reimbursement. I would like to have my expenses reimbursed should I be entitled to obtain them under the law.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 37,000 union employees at Verizon will continue to work while negotiations continue despite the expiration of their contract with the company.  The unions and Verizon disagree over retirement benefits and the cost of health care shouldered by employees. The employees at issue work in the Eastern United States and in wireline operations.  A contract expiation in 2011 led to a two-week strike by the largest two Verizon unions, the Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

According to The New York Times, New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie might be softening his opposition to raising the minimum wage.  Gov. Christie continues to vocalize that a $15 minimum wage would destroy jobs but signaled he would consider the merits of a raise to $10.  Over his opposition, New Jersey voters last year decided to raise the state minimum wage to $8.25 an hour with annual increases thereafter.

Also per The New York Times, one of the small business owners championed when New York City passed its paid sick leave law has been penalized for violating it.  Shiv Puri, owner of Bombay Sandwich Company, was found by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs to have failed to give one of his workers paid sick leave as required by the law.  He agreed to pay $250 in restitution and a fine of $1,000. Under the law “companies with five or more employees must provide up to five paid days off to workers if they, or their close relatives, fall ill.”  Since the law’s passage, the Department of Consumer Affairs “has substantiated 392 complaints, assessing $123,270 in fines against employers and securing payments of $134,938 in restitution to 717 employees.”

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