Labor Leads the Way to Equal Pay

From the AFL-CIO

Over the course of her two-decade-long career at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Alabama, Lilly Ledbetter learned that she was making thousands less than her male counterparts.

She had lost out on more than $200,000 in wages—plus even more in retirement benefits. She challenged Goodyear’s discriminatory actions, eventually taking her case to the U.S. Supreme Court and the halls of Congress.

The bill named in her honor was the first piece of legislation signed by then-President Barack Obama in 2009.

Despite the law, women continue to face discriminatory pay practices—and the problem is even worse for women of color:

This outrageous pay disparity doesn’t just hurt women. Forty-two percent of working women in the United States are the sole breadwinner for their families.

One of the best ways to close the gender pay gap is to join a union. By negotiating strong collective bargaining agreements, union women earn $231 more a week and have better benefits.

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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!