Today’s News & Commentary — March 11, 2019
Five unions representing New England Stop & Shop workers have voted to authorize a strike, the Boston Globe reports. As OnLabor reported yesterday, strike votes have been coming in steadily during the stalled negotiations with Stop & Shop. The most recent votes amount to over 31,000 workers authorizing strikes by their union leadership, according to United Food & Commercial Workers International.
In the UK, unions have commissioned an expert legal opinion warning that government promises of post-Brexit workers’ rights cannot be guaranteed, the Guardian reports. The opinion argues that the current prime minister’s plan to “embed the strongest possible protections” for workers does not commit the UK to matching future EU worker protection standards, and that current MPs cannot bind future parliaments to deliver any such pledges. This contradicts claims by some Labour MPs who have stated that they will support May’s deal partially on the basis of workers’ rights guarantees.
Many Amazon employees in Washington state would be exempt from new labor protections passed in the state senate, after Amazon’s lobbyists pushed for a key change in the legislation, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports. The protections would limit non-compete clauses, but Amazon lobbied to have the income threshold set at a level that would likely exempt many of its Seattle workers. The original wage threshold in the bill was about $180,000, but Amazon succeeded in dropping the threshold to $100,000, leaving the company free to impose non-competes on a wider swath of higher-paid employees.
Wells Fargo employees dispute claims by the company that it has changed its workplace culture following recent scandals, the New York Times reports. Top executives claim to have changed the company culture which led to fake bank accounts, unwarranted fees and unwanted products, but workers say they are still under heavy pressure to squeeze extra money out of customers. Some employees say they witnessed colleagues breaking internal rules to meet performance goals.