Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Why does labor still support Democrats?

AFL-CIO released a statement this week on the so-called "gig economy" and the model by which companies reclassify employees as independent contractors in order to avoid having to meet NLRA requirements.
Making the right policy choices begins with ensuring people who work for on-demand companies enjoy the rights and protections of employees. Under current law, only workers who are defined as “employees” are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and enjoy minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and family and medical leave. Generally speaking, most protections against discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, age, disability and national origin are available only to employees and job applicants.

Encouraging on-demand companies to rely on a workforce of independent contractors who lack the rights and protections of employees is bad public policy, yet four states have passed legislation doing just that for Uber and Lyft drivers. Similar bills are pending in five other states.
It's all well and good to voice objections to the political maneuverings of companies like Uber and its lobbyists. But you're only telling half the story if you don't name names
The presidency of Barack Obama has catapulted a network of former advisers into lucrative positions.

Members of the president’s brain trust have steadily moved outside the administration in recent years, capitalizing on their association with the Obama brand to launch careers as advisers, consultants and hired guns. 

“You see people not only serving as representatives of a lobbying firm but taking these very high-profile corporate jobs. I think that is becoming more common,” said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University. “Businesses understand that this is a great opportunity for them.”

David Plouffe, the mastermind behind the president’s two campaigns, became the latest Obama insider to make a move this week by taking a job with Uber, the up-and-coming ride-sharing app that is battling local governments and taxicab companies over its business model.

Plouffe’s task at the ride-sharing company — now estimated to be worth around $17 billion — is familiar: finding a way to woo the public and win on the political battlefield.

“We needed someone who understood politics but who also had the strategic horsepower to reinvent how a campaign should be run,” said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
As the AFL-CIO statement notes, Plouffe has made significant progress with state legislatures since signing on with Uber.  Maybe it's time to stop supporting the Democratic party if all it does is act as a farm system for these people. 

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