Today’s News & Commentary — September 16, 2019
At midnight today, the United Auto Workers launched its first national strike since 2007. The union’s contract with General Motors expired Saturday night and 200 plant-level leaders voted unanimously to strike if a deal was not reached by Sunday night. Workers are demanding fair wages, access to affordable healthcare, job security, and higher profit sharing. GM, on the other hand, claims to have met all of those demands. GM’s plans to close four manufacturing plants in 2020 will most likely be an integral part of future negotiations.
In the wake of the California legislature’s passage of Assembly Bill 5, a bill which aims to reclassify gig workers as employees, some part-time Uber and Lyft drivers are against the reclassification. The author of a New York Times opinion piece, and a former driver with both companies himself, fears the flexibility many drivers will lose if such legislature is successful. Many drivers already lament the lack of control over their schedules and their pay; these terms have been eroded by rideshare companies selectively sharing information about when to drive and repeatedly announcing paycuts. These drivers fear that employee status will limit their control even further. The author insists instead that rideshare companies treat drivers as true independent contractors, so that conditions such as schedule and pay may be negotiated by both sides.
The Department of Labor filed an administrative complaint against TIAA, one of the largest financial services company, for pay discrimination in its North Carolina offices. The complaint alleges that women in certain departments were paid less than men for performing the same work and that black employees in another department were also paid less than their white counterparts for performing the same work. This pay bias lawsuit is the first of its kind filed by the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program under the Trump administration.