Joint-Employer Rule Upheld by Judge a Win for Workers and Allies

In the ongoing saga of corporations versus workers and their various ragtag allies, workers and their allies won a victory recently. A judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld an Obama-issued regulation from the NLRB that corporations are responsible for the actions of their subordinate firms.

In the ongoing saga of corporations versus workers and their various ragtag allies, workers and their allies won a victory recently. A judge on U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld an Obama-issued regulation from the National Relations Board (NLRB) that corporations are responsible for the actions of their subordinate firms.

This has been fought in the courts for three years and known as Browning Ferris after the company in the initial lawsuit that was said to be controlling the conditions of the workers of a secondary company. The Teamsters were seeking to unionize the workers at a recycling plant operated by Browning who had been hired by a temp agency.

Microsoft has been an amicus curiae or friend of the court of Browning Ferris Industries of California Inc. So has the International Franchise Association which lobbies for corporations and the interests of their franchisees. The National Restaurant Association, the lobbying group for restaurants, was also adamantly opposed the rule, as were the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Associated Builders and Contractors who were also amicus curiae.

Many corporations have been outsourcing the majority of their work or business to third party companies and subsequently claim no responsibility over the issues of their franchisees. McDonald’s is a particularly notable case of this. They have claimed they cannot force their subordinate locations to raise wages when pressed by the Fight for 15 and the SEIU which has been seeking to unionize their restaurants.

But McDonald’s is hardly alone in exploiting this loophole in labor law which is need of modernization. Many, many other multinational corporations operate in a similar manner where they wash their hands of the liabilities related to their workforce.

However, late in his administration, President Obama issued a regulation to address the issue which said that the corporate parent and their franchisees were joint employers and thus both liable for their workers. However, corporations and their numerous minions have been fighting this tooth and nail.

A law passed by Congress would have been more effective, but that was not an option at the time due to Republican control of Congress. In fact, House Republicans in the last Congress passed a law that would have done the opposite. Thankfully it stalled in the Senate.

When Trump came to power, he quickly sided with the corporate interests that sought to squash the joint-employer rule, lest it eat into their profits. His subsequent appointees followed suit.

Thus this victory is fairly significant and cause to rejoice for those who do not benefit from corporations forgoing responsibility.

This could make it a lot easier to force corporations to make changes to the numerous locations that bear their name and products that would benefit workers.

For unions and their allies that seek to help workers, fighting franchisees that usually have less than 40 workers, going one by one for hundreds of locations  isn’t a good option since each one puts up a massive level of opposition.

Rather, it is far more easier to only organize a few and bring the media to protest of HQ.

Franchisees generally have little latitude over their respective stores. They mostly have to follow orders from HQ that are exceedingly specific. If HQ authorizes a commercial for a special deal, the franchisees have to offer that deal.

Given the nature of how much corporate interests disdain labor and seek total control, this may not be the end of this chapter.

Stay tuned.

 

Please follow and like us:

Advocacy for $15 an Hour

As living costs continue to rise in New Jersey, people are working longer hours for less money just to get by. This is in part due to the fact that the past 40 years wages have not kept pace with inflation.

Something must be done. There is dignity in work no matter the task. It’s a means to provide for yourself and enrich your community. The dignity is in part signified by a living wage and benefits. Anything less is an insult. We must rectify this insult.

While changing federal law is difficult, we have an opportunity here in New Jersey to make progress on labor issues under Governor Murphy, Speaker Coughlin, and State Senate President Sweeney.

We need a $15 an hour minimum wage for all workers.

Gov. Murphy ran on raising the minimum wage to $15 and the Speaker has stood with the Governor pledging to pass this into law.

However, the bill introduced waters down $15 an hour to the point of a joke.

Small businesses seem to have been excluded because it might be too onerous for them to pay their workers a respectable wage. Even if we accept their premise that they operate on small margins and cannot reduce executive pay to pay their workers a dignified wage, remember their customers will also be receiving a pay raise and thus will have more money to spend at small businesses.

Workers need a raise desperately to cover the cost of food, gas, clothing, shoes, medicine, and other home goods that small businesses provide.

Teenage workers have also been excluded. Many see teenagers as workers who only need that money for a few luxuries. But youth workers need that money to pay legitimate bills. They have no desire to be a burden and want to ease their family expenses. This is especially true in Hispanic families where their paychecks often go in part to sustaining the family. Youth workers must not be treated as second-class citizens.

Such an exemption from would also likely lead to massive discrimination against older workers by employers seeking to bypass the law. This is already a serious issue in some instances that would be worsened by this bill.

This bill also excludes farmworkers. These men and women who perform the most arduous duties also should receive a higher wage. Why should they be left out? Leaving out a class of workers made up overwhelmingly by people of color is an act of blatant racism.

How are we to call ourselves the Garden State if we do not fairly compensate those who make it so?

For those who feel that blue-collar workers shouldn’t make the same money as white-collar workers, remember a rising tide lifts all boats. Thus, someone making $15 an hour when the minimum wage is near $9 an hour will be making more when the minimum wage is $15 an hour.

Working men and women cannot afford to wait for a raise. They have been waiting long enough while being exploited and deals are made to benefit those who don’t need extra protection.

I urge you to contact your legislator immediately to make your voice heard that this bill is too weak.

PS:

Can you contribute $25 to help us launch our organizing effort?

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/awa#

Thank you.

In solidarity,

Dan

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association

Please follow and like us:

Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday, a day more in the spirit of Thanksgiving than Black Friday where we recognize the great work charities do.

(Of course, many people wouldn’t be so eager for deals if their bosses were more thankful for their labor and properly compensated them.)

This Giving Tuesday, I would like you to consider donating to AWA.

The economy might be booming at the top but wages are stagnant for most people. Despite the Trump tax cuts that were supposed to create jobs, many of the biggest beneficiaries have cut thousands of workers.

These mega-corporations have no interest in helping their workers who are divided and often forced to accept whatever they are given.  This leads workers to struggle endlessly just to make ends meet.

That’s where we come in. We have resolved to address employee misclassification where Independent Contractors or 1099 workers do not receive the benefits they should earn with their labor.

We seek to organize these workers who have nowhere else to go.

Can you contribute $25 to help us launch our organizing effort?

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/awa#

Thank you.

In solidarity,

Dan

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association

Please follow and like us:

Misclassification of 1099 Workers

With the cold upon us here in New Jersey, I trust you are staying warm.

The election made for a busy October that resulted in a House of Representatives that will look more favorably on labor issues, which we are very happy about. Thus, we did not have our October meeting. But we’re back at it this month.

Our next meeting is next Monday, November 26th at 7 pm at 7 Silvester Court East Brunswick, NJ 08816.

For those who cannot join us in person, please use this link:

https://zoom.us/j/439054419

We are beginning to explore addressing employee misclassification whereby workers are called “Independent Contractors” or 1099 workers but treated as regular employees and not given the freedom of an Independent Contractor nor the benefits associated with being a traditional employee. This is a widespread problem in the United States.

We want to explore avenues to organize white-collar independent contractors and initiate legal action on their behalf.

We will also be discussing our efforts at fundraising.

We are also beginning to fundraise to buy campaign materials. Please donate here!

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/awa-workers

In addition, please listen to an interview I did for a podcast discussing AWA:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/surn/2018/11/16/pride-of-olympus?fbclid=IwAR33uuu3pynrAWEg6zNIgU-fk3r-phVEstfX7QVZIlZ_cH-Zbpw2WLqspuo

Happy Thanksgiving!

In solidarity,

Dan

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association

Please follow and like us:

15 an Hour

I trust you are well. We will not be holding an October meeting. Our next meeting will be in November as it is a busy time for many.

We need to build popular support for a strong bill for $15 an hour that helps all workers to counter opposition that seeks to weaken the bill by denying a raise to all those who struggle.

While unemployment has dropped, prosperity remains uneven due to wage stagnation.

Countless New Jerseyans need this bill. More adults than teenagers occupy jobs that earn less than $15 an hour.

Below is a message from our ally NJ Working Families urging we contact our legislators tomorrow to urge that they support a $15 an hour minimum wage bill recently introduced into the legislature.

44288164_10104889884953206_8246284225603436544_nAbove, another picture from the Labor Day parade.

43622219_10104878893889386_4278695949838057472_n.jpgBelow, a picture from a press conference in New Brunswick featuring its Mayor Jim Cahill and Mayor Wilda Diaz of Perth Amboy.


According to a recent United Way ALICE Report, 2 of every 5 NJ families struggles to meet their basic needs. This is an increase in years past, despite decreases in unemployment rates and a stock market boom. New Jersey is on track to join three states and Washington D.C. to enact a statewide $15 minimum wage, which can directly stabilize over 1 Million New Jersey workers and their families. This can be a pivotal move in boosting our state’s economy and the economic security of workers, but can only do so if it applies to ALL New Jersey working families.

I’m asking you to help build support for A-4687 which gradually increases the states minimum wage to $15 for ALL workers. Our state cannot afford to leave any workers behind. Take action by emailing and calling your legislator today! Help urge legislators to live up to their commitment to New Jersey working families and pass a bill that provides a path to a $15 minimum wage for all workers, regardless of industry, geography and without age restrictions.

 

Take care,

Dan

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association

Please follow and like us:

OP-ED: WHY WE NEED $15 AN HOUR MINIMUM WAGE IN NEW JERSEY NOW, NOT LATER

As living costs continue to rise in this expensive state, people are working longer hours for less money just to get by

We need a $15 an hour minimum wage. Too many people are struggling to make ends meet in New Jersey.

This op-ed by Daniel Ulloa, President of AWA, originally appeared in NJ Spotlight.com.

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/18/08/06/op-ed-why-we-need-15-an-hour-minimum-wage-in-new-jersey-now-not-later/

As living costs continue to rise in this expensive state, people are working longer hours for less money just to get by

We need a $15 an hour minimum wage. Too many people are struggling to make ends meet in New Jersey.

Between the costs of housing, child care, transportation, and healthcare more and more people are working longer hours for less money just to get by, much less thrive. And despite the state’s low unemployment, the fact that wages have remained stagnant makes poverty a pressing issue here.

New Jersey is one of the most expensive states in the country to live in. It was recently ranked among the top 10 most unequal state in the nation. Those who are wealthy can enjoy its benefits far more than struggling workers. And while some of those who are currently struggling can go on to achieve prosperity, they, unfortunately, are more often the exception to the rule. There is no reason thousands should be made to toil for slave wages simply because it’s possible to find a better job.

Raising the minimum wage is always a popular action. In 2013, when Gov. Chris Christie was re-elected, a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage slightly was approved as well, thus showing such a move has bipartisan support.

Some conservatives object because they feel it would be an onerous burden on companies to pay individuals so much money. But if their customers are also making more money, they’re likely to shop more.

$15 minimum would benefit 1.2M workers in NJ

Furthermore, higher wages mean employees won’t be as likely to leave blue-collar jobs — which in turn means businesses won’t have to spend as much time training new staff. In addition, a more satisfied staff is likely to lead to an increase in productivity.

For those who feel that blue-collar workers shouldn’t make the same money as white-collar workers, remember a rising tide lifts all boats.

According to New Jersey Policy Perspective, raising the minimum wage to $15 would raise wages for 1.2 million workers in the state and inject $4.5 billion into the state’s economy.

There has been some talk of watering down the minimum-wage bill to pay youth workers less than $15 an hour. Most are seen as teenagers from middle-classes families who take the jobs merely for spending money. But youth workers need that money. Contrary to the beliefs of some, they have no desire to be a burden but rather would like to contribute and ease their family expenses. This is especially true in the homes of Hispanic families where their paychecks often go in part to sustaining the family. Youth workers must not be treated as second-class citizens.

Discrimination against older workers

Such an exemption from a $15 minimum would also likely lead to massive discrimination against older workers by employers seeking to bypass the law.

There has also been talk of excluding farmworkers. Farmworkers who perform the most arduous duties also must receive a higher wage. Why should they be left out? Many work long hours for little pay in jobs that few would willingly do. Leaving out a class of workers made up overwhelmingly by people of color is an act of blatant racism.

How are we to call ourselves the Garden State if we do not fairly compensate those who make it so?

There has been a great delay now in anticipation of the bill while living expenses continue to increase due to natural inflation. Delaying an increase for too long would erode the effect of raising the minimum wage.

In 2016, a bill to put $15 on the ballot as a referendum passed both legislative chambers easily but was vetoed by Christie and, unfortunately, the political will wasn’t there to override his veto.

Gov. Phil Murphy ran on raising the minimum wage to $15 and made it one of the central planks of his campaign. However, we have been waiting half a year for the bill to be passed. Working men and women cannot afford to wait. They have been waiting long enough while they are exploited, and deals are made to benefit those who don’t need extra protection.

The Legislature must send a bill raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour to the governor now.

Please follow and like us:

Speaking on a Podcast

cropped-cropped-AWA_Facebook_Profile-1.jpg

Hi,

To begin to spread our message to the public, last week I was a guest on the Elysium Project podcast where I discussed AWA and our role in addressing problems in the gig economy.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/surn/2018/07/19/the-elysium-project

I speak around the 1:04 mark.

We plan to participate in a demonstration on Labor Day. We need to remind people it’s more than discounts and picnics but as a testimonial to the power of working men and women. Details to be announced.

Our formal launch will be held shortly. We need your help.

Please get in touch.

Enjoy your weekend, courtesy of the labor movement.

Please follow and like us:

Speaking before the NAACP

Hi,

Last night I spoke at the meeting of the Metuchen-Edison NAACP on behalf of AWA on the need for our approach to address the needs of struggling temp and precarious workers in an era of great economic inequality to achieve economic justice for all.

Please view here and share it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=by0I5Xee30k

34037402-037e-48d3-ad15-acea3c3960ec

We are getting ready for a formal launch. Towards that end, we now have flyers designed by Rich Green that we’ll be distributing soon. Any feedback is appreciated. Feel free to share them with anyone would be interested. In addition, we’ll soon be planning a launch event.

AWA Flyer pic

Stay tuned for details.

Enjoy your weekend, courtesy of the labor movement.

Take care,

Dan

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association

Please follow and like us:

Progress And Our Meeting Next Week

These workers need the help of an organization like AWA to deal with the multitude of issues that arise in the workplace every day but go unaddressed for fear of reprisal. Isolation creates fear. But there is courage and strength in numbers. 

Hello All! 

I hope everything has turned out alright for those of you who were affected by the blizzard. 

AWA continues to build alliances and increase our following. We have continued our efforts to create a resource center for workers who do not have the benefit of unions. These workers need the help of an organization like AWA to deal with the multitude of issues that arise in the workplace every day but go unaddressed for fear of reprisal. Isolation creates fear. But there is courage and strength in numbers. 

Our next meeting is Sunday, March 18th from 5-7 pm at 7 Silvester Ct., East Brunswick, NJ 08816. It is a private residence where parking is ample. Refreshments will be provided.

We would love to see you there! If you can attend please RSVP here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/200794470511669/

As always, for those who cannot attend in-person, an audio-video conference is available.  Please see below.

https://zoom.us/j/41/6885357

The link will also be available on the Facebook.

IN OTHER NEWS:

While the national jobs report was surprisingly good this month, wages continue to grow far too slowly. The jobs report is problematic because it doesn’t take into account those who are underemployed and those who have stopped looking for jobs, thus artificially lowering the true unemployment rate. Wages continue to have little correlation with the stock market, which is dangerously high. 

This week, International Women’s Day was a reminder of the strength of women everywhere. While some have sought to obscure this holiday, its popularity in recent years has soared as we have been reminded that it is to commemorate the leadership roles women have taken in the labor movement.

In West Virginia, teachers in all 55 counties of the state were recently on strike for nine days in protest of their wages, which have not been increased in years. It was notable because it was directed in large part by its rank and file members versus the state leadership. 

The strike ended when the legislature agreed to raise their wages by 5%. This is a great victory in a state which has become increasingly conservative and anti-union in recent years and thus difficult for unions to operate. It shows how the power of an organized workforce, united in the fight for better conditions, can be an effective model for change. This victory has already inspired teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona.

Looking forward to speaking with you soon, 

Dan

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association
22 Carpenter Terrace N.
2 R
Belleville, NJ 07019
American.workforce1@gmail.com
(908) 421-1422
@American_Work1
Americanworkforce.net

Please follow and like us:

The NLC Labor Summit and the Crumbling of New Jersey

21764921_10104169696551536_4820964334217685268_n
Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ) addressed the NLC Labor Summit Saturday.

By Eddie Rivera

The New Leaders Council’s Labor Summit in Edison on Saturday was a reminder of how New Jersey needs to be a beacon of hope for the labor movement and how far it has fallen. The last eight years with Chris Christie as Governor have derailed the Garden State. New Jersey has fallen behind its neighboring states in every economic measure since the Great Recession. Its credit rating has been downgraded several times. The NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development has seen its budget nearly slashed to death and belittled in integrity. The bill to increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour was vetoed last summer and the legislature did not override his veto. State residents are unable to make ends meet. It’s nearly impossible to survive with a low minimum wage and high tuition costs. Imagine raising kids while working three jobs and earning an education. This is a great injustice in a state as prosperous as ours.

In addition, Trump’s presidency has only made it worse. His appointment to the Supreme Court is likely to vote in favor of weakening labor unions while a similar bill is pending in Congress. The regulatory gains made by the Obama Administration in the face opposition are being turned back. His administration is stacked with plutocrats seeking to benefits their cronies at the expense of the American people. As Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ) pointed out, there are a handful of individuals in the United States Congress who have been in a labor union.

This weekend’s summit was a reminder to on its laurels in the long war against Hypercapitalism when small gains are achieved. Now is the time to fight for the preservation of the Labor Movement in New Jersey and the country as a whole. We as a state cannot continue to move backward. Now is the opportunity to turn the page and move forward back to the progressive values we in the Garden State hold dear. With so much diversity, New Jersey needs to demonstrate progressivism in all areas of public policy. Each of the panelists has expressed their views on labor with much thought and deliberation.

Without labor, New Jersey cannot function. We need reform to continue robust activity within the transportation, manufacturing, health, education, and customer service sectors. Everyone should be entitled to pension and benefits in their respective fields. I urge everyone to continue the fight for a better New Jersey. Eight years of falling behind the rest of the nation has gone long enough. Let us all come together and make all our dreams come true once again.

Please follow and like us: