News & Commentary

July 22, 2022

Hannah Finnie

Hannah Finnie is a student at Harvard Law School and a member of the Labor and Employment Lab.

The U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced yesterday that the U.S. asked Mexico to review whether workers at a facility in Mexico were denied the rights of free association and collective bargaining. The U.S. made this request under the Rapid Response Labor Mechanism (RRM) of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. This is the third time this year the U.S. has used this mechanism to pursue action related to potential labor violations. The action is a result of two Mexican labor organizations that filed a petition for use of the RRM due to alleged violations of free association and collective bargaining. Mexico now has 10 days to determine whether to review the situation, and then 45 days after that to complete the review if it chooses.

In the U.S., Amazon revealed yesterday it bought One Medical, a primary care provider. The acquisition marks a large move into the health care space from Amazon and is also causing concern among privacy advocates and anti-trust advocates. Privacy advocates worry that Amazon’s large amount of existing data coupled with direct access to health care records through this acquisition will lead to the company having too much sensitive information about people.

The American Economic Liberties Project released a statement calling on regulators to stop the deal. It cited privacy concerns (“Allowing Amazon to control the health care data for another 700,000+ individuals is terrifying”) and anti-competitive ramifications, noting that this acquisition will allow Amazon to grow in the space and undermine competition.

As Travis reported earlier this week, an Amazon worker died during Prime Day (one of Amazon’s busiest days). Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union who helped organize the first unionized Amazon location in the country, said that the worker had told management of chest pains but they continued to make him work. He then was passed out for 20 minutes on the floor and it took nearly an hour for someone to call 911.

Workers at the publishing company HarperCollins went on a one-day strike yesterday to fight for higher wages, better family leave benefits, and policies that support workers from oppressed backgrounds. There has been a union at HarperCollins for decades, but the current workers have been fighting for a new contract since December 2021 and have not yet reached a fair contract, they say.

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