That Union Thing

The Austin City Council has passed a regulation requiring any organization that receives city funding or uses city property to recognize any labor union designated by card-check.

Failure to abide by the regulation could result in loss of future funding. Under the regulation, employees of the covered organizations would only need to collect authorization cards from a majority of employees in order to secure representation by a labor union.

Nonfiction writer-producers at Peacock Productions have won the right to be represented by Writers Guild of America, East. Writers filed for a union election in 2012 but Peacock and parent company Comcast/NBCUniversal fought the election, cleaming that writers were freelancers and not eligible for union representation. After an appeal, the NLRB has ruled that the employees do have a right to union representation.

Chicago teachers have averted a strike. An 11th-hour deal reached by the city and the Chicago Teachers Union calls for cost-of-living increases in the final two years of a four-year agreement and maintains additional pay for seniority and experience.

Cafeteria workers at Harvard University are on their first strike in 30 years. Workers are demanding a living wage of $35,000 per year. UNITE HERE and Harvard have had nineteen negotiating sessions since May, including some sessions with a federal mediator, but have been unable to reach a deal.

The New York State Department of Labor has ruled that Uber drivers are employees and not independent contractors. The ruling means that drivers would be covered by unemployment insurance, workers compensation, and minimum wage laws.

A tribunal has been convened in the United Kingdom to determine if Uber drivers are employees. Drivers are currently treated as self-employed by Uber. A ruling that the drivers are employees would mean that the drivers are eligible for pension benefits and holiday and sick pay.


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