How Unions Carried Pennsylvania’s 18th District — and Why the DNC Should Be Paying Attention

By Richard L. Trumka and Rick Bloomingdale

Rep.-elect Conor Lamb made national waves with an improbable win last week in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. He faced down $10 million in outside money funneled to his opponent by corporate and right-wing interests. He fought through a barrage of incessant, hyper-partisan attacks blanketing the airwaves. He was abandoned by his own party’s national infrastructure in a district that hadn’t elected a Democrat in nearly 15 years. And he still came out on top.

It wasn’t because of some stale advice whispered into his ear by an overpaid consultant. He doesn’t owe this victory to super PACs or corporate donations. It certainly wasn’t thanks to the Democratic Party establishment — it’s still finding its way out of an agenda and message that failed to resonate with working people in 2016.

The fact is: Working people and the power of a union-run, member-to-member campaign are what carried the 18th District.

This election came down to a fight between our grassroots labor coalition and state Rep. Rick Saccone’s corporate-funded, RNC-managed smear campaign. The outcome proved what we already knew: The path to power runs through the labor movement.

Conor will be settling into a new office in Washington because he proudly stood with unions in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Read the full post at Medium.

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Posted In: Allied Approaches, From AFL-CIO

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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Make Father's Day Union Made!

Make Father's Day Union Made!