Workers Working for A Safe and Prosperous Future

Joining union and environmental leaders from around the world, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) made clear that the labor movement is committed to combating climate change—but not at the expense of working people’s livelihoods and dignity. Speaking at the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley, yesterday, he argued that “as a labor movement, it is our job to ignite the flames of justice, not contain them. And that’s exactly how we’ll be successful in the fight against climate change: by demanding justice for working people and ensuring no one is left behind.

  • A global effort to combat climate change is fundamental to a safe and prosperous future but, as President Trumka reiterated today to thousands of attendees at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, that effort will succeed only if working people have a seat at the decision making table.
  • Check out a few highlights from the event below, and read President Trumka’s full remarks here.

“Make no mistake, this is a tough issue for us. But, in the labor movement, we’re used to tough issues and hard choices. We’re prepared to do the right thing for our people and our planet. And we know that this fight can—and must—be about investing in a better, more inclusive, more just future....[a]bout creating good jobs and good lives for working families.”

  • “Climate strategies that leave coal miners’ pension funds bankrupt, power plant workers unemployed, construction workers making less than they do now...plans that devastate communities today, while offering vague promises about the future...they are more than unjust...they fundamentally undermine the power of the political coalition needed to address the climate crisis.”
  • “This is a remarkable time for collective action. Teachers from West Virginia to Arizona...workers in transportation, journalism, energy and more are coming together for a voice on the job. The popularity of unions recently hit a 15-year high. And we’re just getting started. We can bring this energy and momentum to the fight against climate change. Let’s join together. Let’s get the job done. And let’s do it the right way.

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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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Make Father's Day Union Made!

Make Father's Day Union Made!