America Needs Paid Leave

From the AFL-CIO

This week, America’s union movement celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows millions of working people to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for sick or injured loved ones without the fear of being fired. The AFL-CIO salutes the activists who pushed Congress for a decade to pass the bill in 1993 and urges more action to expand paid leave today.

  • America needs paid leave because one major life event that demands a worker take time off to care for a sick child or spouse can destroy a family’s economic security and throw people into homelessness and chaos.
  • Paid leave policies already are working at the state level by helping millions of families juggle the competing demands of work and family at a very modest cost, which may even be offset by savings.
  • Everyone benefits from paid leave. Mothers, fathers, children and caregivers all benefit from paid leave.
  • Paid leave helps businesses by making the benefit more affordable, decreasing staff turnover and raising morale.

         * 87%: The percentage of California businesses that said the state’s paid leave policy costs no extra money to administer, while also producing savings because of decreased employee turnover.


Posted In: From AFL-CIO, Union Matters

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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A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder