The path forward for essential workers – TechCrunch

With a gig worker Warehouse workers are indispensable in a pandemic-stricken economy. In California, a law to make gig workers an independent contractor came into force earlier this year. Meanwhile, Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama are actively working to form unions to ensure better protection in the workplace.

At TC Sessions: Justice, I’m with Vanessa Bain, co-founder and organizer of Gig Workers Collective, Christian Smalls, founder and former Amazon warehouse worker of the Congress of Essential Workers, and Jessica E. Martinez, co-secretary general of national occupational health and safety I talked. What’s next for the workforce of gig workers and tech contractors, and what fights await these essential workers?

At Amazon Union Drive

Amazon Warehouse Workers in Bessemer, Alabama Historical union drive.. Smalls, who was fired from a job at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island last year, told me he had recently spent a few days in Bessemer after talking about a lack of personal protective equipment.

The building opened when the coronavirus began. The Bessemer facility opened when New York City became the epicenter. As a result, the union got off to a good start in discussions with the workers. This is a gem for those planning to consolidate buildings and unions. There are facilities in the community that are about to open at the time of opening, which is the best time to connect with workers. That’s what happened last year. As a result, workers saw what happened to unprotected workers and didn’t want it. They want to be better for themselves. And, especially in Alabama, they naturally want it. It’s a right-to-work law, a state that doesn’t have a state minimum, obviously a red state. So I think there are a lot of intangible assets for them. But these workers are now looking at windows of systematic changing opportunities. (Timestamp: 4:40)

Meanwhile, President Biden recently came out to support union activities in Bessemer.

I hope he is the man of his words. He is a union supporter. He then ran the campaign and said he was a member, the union needed to be strong, and he was in favor of the union all the time. It was powerful to see the president, the highest plateau in the country, in favor of the union. (Timestamp: 13:11)

[…] But once again, as Vanessa said, I don’t even put all the eggs in that basket. I just want to hold him accountable. Check it out, you. I know, we’ve been watching this all the way to the end. Even if Alabama is unsuccessful, it is the most powerful thing that resonates with workers if we try to get the highest power support in the country elsewhere, elsewhere. is. So it’s good to see it happening now. (Timestamp: 14:17)

About the effect of Proposal 22

Already, Proposal 22 is affecting non-technical industries. In December, supermarket chain Albertsons began replacing delivery drivers with contractors, replacing hundreds of California employees with DoorDash workers. Bloomberg reported.. Meanwhile, tech companies have talked about enforcing legislation like Proposal 22 in other parts of the country. Martinez explained that some Californians who voted to pass Proposal 22 believe they are helping workers to improve access to their rights.

And unfortunately, you probably have a dead worker. There is a California rideshare driver who died in COVID-19 last month. His independent classification means that his family does not receive workers’ accident compensation. It has a huge impact on workers and the reality of how it affects their daily lives and in the midst of a pandemic. So I share it. Because Proposal 22 again sets the tone of what can happen nationwide. (Timestamp: 17:00)

Meanwhile, Mr Bain said the passage of Proposal 22 was seen as a failure of “our entire economic structure.”

And we really allowed technology to ramp up under the pretense of being somehow innovative, especially in the gig economy. So it’s the opposite of the innovative, right? It’s like feudalism on your phone, isn’t it? 1-800 dial listserv. In short, they don’t seem to be doing anything new to justify creating a completely different labor classification than before. That’s what Proposal 22 did, right? It literally created a market contractor in this category that does not retain the protection of independent contractors or employees. And, as you know, allowing businesses to write their own laws in this way is a systematic failure. (Timestamp: 18:57)

About PRO method

Currently, the US Senate has legislation aimed at facilitating workers to organize and form unions in the country. The Act on the Protection of the Right to Organize seeks to change labor law in support of giving more power to workers.

Bain talked about the importance of crossing the PRO law in the light of the passage of Proposal 22 in California.

These things, as you know, should not be at the mercy of someone who is held in a certain position. These should actually be codified and enshrined. And what people have to trust, trust, and have consistent and stable protection. (Timestamp: 20:22)

How Martinez is the PRO method The work she does at COSH.. The organization recently published a national agenda on worker safety and health, along with some recommendations.

We want stronger safety laws and stricter enforcement, including mandatory urgent standards to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.Again, this is the federal government, so in the event of an ETS or emergency [temporary] A standard pass, which applies everywhere, affects workers of all kinds and provides stronger protection against retaliation. (Timestamp: 07:53)

Martinez added:

Employers devote resources to scaring tactics to scare workers’ organization, demands for a safer workplace, employment security, and more. [The agenda] It also includes workers who are included in all policy decisions. We understand the work better than anyone else, know the solutions and management of health and safety issues, and fairness to end temporary gigworker misclassification and better protection. I strongly believe that I know the inclusiveness. Paid illness and family leave for workers is also a worker-centric health protocol that includes gaining access to health and vaccines for high-risk workers. And we want to tackle the impact of climate change on the workplace. Finally, it also prevents chemical disasters and harmful exposures. […] That said, it’s not working on its own. It works in tandem with the law, the PRO law, etc. is passed, allowing workers to gain bargaining power when organizing, basically negotiating with employers and regaining access to profits such as work. Hope to be able to pay security paid sick leave worker accident compensation etc. (Timestamp: 8:23)

You can read Click here for the entire transcript..

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