News & Commentary

June 1, 2017

Employment changes continue at Uber, who reported yesterday that its Finance Head, Gautam Gupta, will be leaving in July.  This comes after the company fired Anthony Levandowski, as reported previously on the blog, and after Josh Mohrer, general manager of Uber’s New York operations, declared he was leaving on Tuesday.  The company continues its search for its first-ever COO.  Despite increasing revenue, the company posted a $708 million loss.  Recent scandals, including the investigation and claims of sexual harassment and sexism by former software engineer Susan Fowler Rigetti, previously discussed on the blog here and here, have plagued the company.  Uber expects to release a report on the investigation into the claims of sexual harassment and sexism next week.  The Wall Street Journal reports.

A federal district court judge in Manhattan ruled yesterday that New York City’s law regulating carwash businesses illegally favored unionization.  The bill, passed by the City Council in June 2015, required carwash owners to obtain a license for the first time.  Owners without unionized workers had to post a bond of $150,000, whereas employers with unionized workers had to post a bond of $30,000.  Judge Hellerstein found the law “explicitly encourages unionization, and therefore impermissibly intrudes on the labor-management bargaining process.”  Labor activists felt the law supported exploited car wash workers who often face wage theft, whereas car wash owners felt the legislation would have cut jobs and encouraged a move to automation.  The New York Times reports.

Mayor De Blasio also signed five bills into law regulating fast-food and retail employers in New York City to offer more protections to employees, including scheduling shifts 14 days in advance, prohibiting consecutive shifts of closing and opening, offering new work shifts to current employees before making external hires, deduct and direct portions of their salary to a nonprofit organization, and ban on-call scheduling for retailers with 20 or more employees.  The laws will go into effect in November. The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Illinois State House and State Senate approved a bill to raise the state minimum wage law to $15 over the next 5 years.  The sponsor of the House bill, Representative Will Guzzardi, stated, “[a]t its core, this is a bill about the dignity of work.”  It is unclear whether Governor Bruce Rauner, who has stated his support for a smaller wage hike over a longer period, will sign the bill into law.  More here.


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