Weekend News & Commentary— February 2, 2020
In Skokie, Illinois, the first group of Instacart employees have unionized, voting 10-4 in favor of unionizing with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1546. Unlike the majority of Instacart workers, some 12,000 “shoppers” are legally classified as employees and primarily pack groceries in popular grocery stores on the delivery app. With that legal status, they are eligible to unionize. The election was opposed by the company, who sent representatives to a local grocery store to distribute anti-union literature. But Vice reports that the company plans to begin negotiation pending the certification of the results.
On Monday, staffers and aides at the New York City Council will ask Speaker Corey Johnson to formally recognize a union. Politico reports that since November, organizers have collected union cards and received signatures from around 60% of the eligible staffers. Despite earlier conversations with some large international unions, the workers have elected to organize as the “Association for Legislative Employees.” Johnson has vocally supported the effort in the past, and voluntary recognition is expected.
Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, the filmmakers behind American Factory, will bring workers from the Ohio plant they filmed to this year’s Oscars. The film is nominated for Best Documentary Feature, and focused on the operation of the Fuyao glass plant in Moraine, Ohio after it opened in an abandoned General Motors Factory. The filmmakers say they will try to bring both American and Chinese workers to the awards show.
Last week, Vermont Governor Phil Scott (R) vetoed H.107, a bill creating a paid family and medical leave program for Vermont workers. The program would be funded by a payroll tax, and will require a 2/3 vote in the legislature to override. BloombergLaw notes that this raises questions over a minimum wage increase, passed on Thursday, that would bring the Vermont minimum wage up from $10.96 to $12.55 by 2022. In 2018, Governor Scott vetoed two similar wage and paid leave proposals that were not overridden by the legislature.