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Uber and Lyft Ramp Up Efforts to Shield Business Model

After California passed a law in 2019 that effectively gave gig workers the legal standing of employees, companies like Uber and Lyft spent some $200 million on a ballot initiative exempting their drivers.To avoid such threats in other states, the companies have pressed for legislation that classifies drivers as contractors, meaning they are not entitled to protections like a minimum wage and unemployment benefits.The most serious initiative in this vein, in New York State, has stalled while facing opposition from labor groups as the state’s legislative session winds down this week.But the effort seems certain to be revived, …

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For Many Workers, Change in Mask Policy Is a Nightmare

“Retailers were asking and requiring you to wear masks,” said Willy Solis, a shopper for the delivery app Shipt in Denton, Texas, who works in stores like Target, Kroger and CVS. “A large majority of people were still doing the right thing and wearing them.”Since the C.D.C. announcement, however, “it’s been a complete shift,” Mr. Solis said. Denton, like Yorktown, sits in a county that supported former President Donald J. Trump by a single-digit margin in the November election.According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 97 percent of Democrats said in a March poll that they wore …

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U.S. Asks Mexico to Investigate Labor Issues at G.M. Facility

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration announced on Wednesday that it was asking Mexico to review whether labor violations had occurred at a General Motors facility in the country, a significant step using a new labor enforcement tool in the revised North American trade deal.The administration is seeking the review under the novel “rapid response” mechanism in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement and took effect last summer. Under the mechanism, penalties can be brought against a specific factory for violating workers’ rights of free association and collective bargaining.The administration “received information appearing to …

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For Clean Energy, Buy American or Buy It Quick and Cheap?

Patricia Fahy, a New York State legislator, celebrated when a new development project for the Port of Albany — the country’s first assembly plant dedicated to building offshore wind towers — was approved in January.“I was doing cartwheels,” said Ms. Fahy, who represents the area. But she was soon caught in a political bind.A powerful union informed her that most of the equipment for New York’s big investment in offshore windmills would not be built by American workers but would come from abroad. Yet when Ms. Fahy proposed legislation to press developers to use locally made parts, she …

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Wind Project Shows Democratic Tensions Over Energy

Patricia Fahy, a New York State legislator, celebrated when a new development project for the Port of Albany — the country’s first assembly plant dedicated to building offshore wind towers — was approved in January.“I was doing cartwheels,” said Ms. Fahy, who represents the area.Before long, however, she was caught in a political bind.A powerful union informed her that most of the equipment for New York’s big investment in offshore windmills would not be built by American workers but would come from abroad. Yet when Ms. Fahy proposed legislation to press developers to use locally made parts, …

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Mexican Factories Accused of Labor Abuses, Testing U.S.M.C.A.

WASHINGTON — The A.F.L.-C.I.O. and other groups filed a complaint with the Biden administration on Monday over claims of labor violations at a group of auto parts factories in Mexico, a move that will pose an early test of the new North American trade deal and its labor protections.The complaint focuses on the Tridonex auto parts factories in the city of Matamoros, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. said workers there have been harassed and fired over their efforts to organize with an independent union, SNITIS, in …

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Health Advocate or Big Brother? Companies Weigh Requiring Vaccines.

As American companies prepare to bring large numbers of workers back to the office in the coming months, executives are facing one of their most delicate pandemic-related decisions: Should they require employees to be vaccinated?Take the case of United Airlines. In January, the chief executive, Scott Kirby, indicated at a company town hall that he wanted to require all of his roughly 96,000 employees to get coronavirus vaccines once they became widely available.“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Mr. Kirby said, before urging other corporations to follow suit. It has been four months. No major airlines …

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Why Amazon Workers Sided With the Company Over a Union

When Graham Brooks received his ballot in early February, asking whether he wanted to form a union at the Amazon warehouse in Alabama where he works, he did not hesitate. He marked the NO box, and mailed the ballot in.After almost six years of working as a reporter at nearby newspapers, Mr. Brooks, 29, makes about $1.55 more an hour at Amazon, and is optimistic he can move up.“I personally didn’t see the need for a union,” he said. “If I was being treated differently, I may have voted differently.”Mr. Brooks is one of almost 1,800 employees who handed …

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Amazon Union Vote: Labor Loss May Bring Shift in Strategy

“Everywhere they tried, they were defeated,’’ Nelson Lichtenstein, a labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said of the unions. “Walmart would send teams to swamp the stores to work against a union. They are good at it.”As with Walmart, labor leaders believed it was critical to establish a foothold at Amazon, which influences pay and working conditions for millions of workers thanks to the competitive pressure it puts on rivals in industries like groceries and fashion.But the labor movement’s failure to make inroads at Walmart despite investing millions of dollars has loomed over its …

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Amazon Workers Defeat Union Effort in Alabama

Amazon beat back the most significant labor drive in its history on Friday, when a tally showed that workers at its giant warehouse in Alabama had voted decisively against forming a union.Workers cast 1,798 votes against a union, giving Amazon enough to emphatically defeat the effort. Ballots in favor of a union trailed at 738, less than 30 percent of the votes tallied, according to federal officials. The lopsided outcome at the 6,000-person warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., dealt a crushing blow to labor organizers, Democrats and their allies at a time when conditions have been ripe for unions to make advances.Amazon, …

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