Today's News & Commentary — May 2, 2016

Published May 2nd, 2016 -  - 05.02.162


One thousand Uber Drivers in New York State are now card-carrying members of an association, the Amalgamated Local Livery Employees in Solidarity (Alles), dedicated to protecting members from expense claims and advocating for tighter regulations of ride-sharing services, reports Fortune.  But Alles is not a union.  The only Uber drivers who have won the right to collectively bargain are those in Seattle.  The formation of Alles comes off the heels of a proposed $100 million settlement in California and Massachusetts between Uber and its drivers.  While the agreement still does not recognize Uber drivers as employees, it allows for the creation of “associations” that can address shared complaints.   Alles is one such association.  Although Alles only represents a small fraction of the 30,000 Uber drivers in New York State, it could still wield significant power as a representative of the collective interests of ride-sharing drivers.  So although Alles does not have the power to set fares, it may still prove that it has the influence and reach needed to bring other benefits to its members.

Yesterday the Detroit Federation of Teachers announced a district-wide sick-out for its more than 2,600 teacher members beginning today, reports the Detroit Free Press.  If successful the sick-out will mean no class for the over 46,000 students who attend the district’s schools.  The call for the sick out followed news that unless lawmakers approve sending more money to the school system, there will not be enough money to pay teachers their already-earned salaries after June 30.

An opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal written by Nina Rees, the President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, calls upon “politicians and philanthropists to remain committed” to charter schools despite claims that their growth is harming public education.  Recently, Rees notes, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, called a $35 million private donation to the Success Academy charter schools “part of a coordinated national effort to decimate public schooling” and to “strip[ ] communities of a voice in their children’s education.”  Rees makes clear that she is unfazed by such criticism and that others should do the same.  She argues that charter schools have “broad-based support” from public-school parents, low-income parents, and lawmakers and that with continued (presumably, financial) support charter schools could “revolutionize American education.”

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