News & Commentary

February 3, 2022

Anita Alem

Anita Alem is a student at Harvard Law School.

Private sector employment decreased by 301,000 jobs from December to January according to the ADP Employment Report, which estimates nonfarm employment based on ADP’s payroll data. The largest decrease, approximately 144,000 jobs, was concentrated in small businesses. The decrease was unexpected given the Dow Jones projection that employment would increase by 200,000. It remains to be seen on Friday, when the Department of Labor payroll estimates will be released, whether job growth will be closer to Wall Street’s growth or ADP’s decline estimates.

In labor news, the Wall Street Journal reported that the New York Times is continuing to encourage employees to vote no in the ongoing unionization effort by its technology workers. As we reported previously, approximately 600 employees, including engineers and data analysts, are voting to unionize in a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election with ballots due in mid-February. The Times has refused to voluntarily recognize the union, with a spokeswoman stating a collective bargaining arrangement could “stifle” digital product development by hampering “collaboration, speed, and constant experimentation.” 

According to the Amazon Labor Union, a group that aims to organize Amazon workers, a second Staten Island Amazon warehouse location has filed a petition with the NLRB to seek unionization. This location, known as LDJ5, is less than a mile away from JFK8, another warehouse located in Staten Island where workers have made efforts to unionize. Workers at both locations may be encouraged by the NLRB’s finding that Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama will re-vote on unionization beginning February 4 after Amazon’s illegal interference in the first election.

Internationally, Bloomberg and the New York Times reported that workers in an ongoing union election at a General Motors plant in Mexico raised concerns of corruption in the voting process, including reporting being threatened and offered bribes. The election presents the more than 6,000 workers at the plant the opportunity to choose between four different unions as representatives. In particular, SINITTIA, a new, independent union formed by workers, represents an alternative to Mexico’s largest union CTM, which workers have complained bears ties to politicians and employers, preventing the union from effectively advocating for workers’ interests. The election is emblematic of the culmination of labor reforms developed by the United States and Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement and could have a major impact on worker power in Mexican factories.

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