FLRA seeks to charge Education Dept. of union busting

Matt Murray

Matt Murray Founder/Editor, NH Labor News

The Federal Labor Relations Authority is poised to deliver a significant blow against attempts to purge unions from the federal workplace, the American Federation of Government Employees announced today.

The FLRA has informed the parties that there is sufficient evidence to charge that the Department of Education violated federal labor law by failing to bargain in good faith with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and unilaterally imposing its own proposal on 3,900 federal employees.

“The FLRA investigator has found merit in the unfair labor practice charge that AFGE filed in March after Education Department management walked away from the bargaining table and imposed its own illegal management edict,” AFGE General Counsel David Borer said. “We urge Education officials to return to the table to negotiate a fair and just contract, which all employees deserve.”

The FLRA preliminary findings come as AFGE and other unions head to court on Wednesday to argue our lawsuit against the Trump administration’s three executive orders, issued May 25, that aim to weaken federal employee unions and deny 2 million federal employees their legal right to representation.

“We’re putting all agencies on notice that they cannot use President Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional executive orders as a cover to bust unions and gut employees’ rights,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

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Reposted from NH Labor News

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Uber Drivers Deserve Legal Rights and Protections

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

In an advisory memo released May 14, the U.S. labor board general counsel’s office stated that Uber drivers are not employees for the purposes of federal labor laws.

Their stance holds that workers for companies like Uber are not included in federal protections for workplace organizing activities, which means the labor board is effectively denying Uber drivers the benefits of forming or joining unions.

Simply stating that Uber drivers are just gig workers does not suddenly undo the unjust working conditions that all workers potentially face, such as wage theft, dangerous working conditions and  job insecurity. These challenges are ever-present, only now Uber drivers are facing them without the protection or resources they deserve. 

The labor board’s May statement even seems to contradict an Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling that couriers for Postmates, a job very similar to Uber drivers’, are legal employees.

However, the Department of Labor has now stated that such gig workers are simply independent contractors, meaning that they are not entitled to minimum wages or overtime pay.

While being unable to unionize limits these workers’ ability to fight for improved pay and working conditions, independent contractors can still make strides forward by organizing, explained executive director of New York Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai.

“We can’t depend solely on the law or the courts to stop worker exploitation. We can only rely on the steadfast militancy of workers who are rising up everywhere,” Desai said in a statement. 

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