One Job Should Be Enough

From the AFL-CIO Staff

Weeks after more than 8,300 UNITE HERE members at Marriott hotels across the country voted to authorize strikes, management has still failed to resolve key contract issues, including workplace safety, job protections and a living wage. Ready to fight for their fundamental economic rights, workers are prepared to walk out without notice in San Francisco, San Diego, Oakland and San Jose, California; Oahu and Maui, Hawaii; Boston; Seattle and Detroit.

"8,300 UNITE HERE members have the courage and the power to take on the biggest hotel company in the world and are willing to fight to transform jobs they can’t survive on into careers where they can support their families with dignity," said UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor last week as strike headquarters opened across the country.

Workers have been in negotiations with Marriott for months, yet management has refused to ensure that one job is enough to sustain a family.

Marriott is the largest and richest hotel employer in the world, earning $22.8 billion in revenue last year and touting a total worth of $45 billion.

Find out more about this fight, and show your solidarity here!

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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