Employee or Independent Contractor?

Why Biden and Democrats might not push employee status for gig workers 

Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.)

From The Washington Post, Faiz Siddiqui and Eli Rosenberg discuss the prospects of stricter laws governing the classification of workers and the different views within the Democratic Party. Faiz and Eli write:

Unlike other labor issues that prompt broad agreement among Democrats, such as raising the minimum wage, strengthening protections for worker activism and creating workplace safety protections amid the pandemic, the gig worker question has the potential to be more divisive.

It is similar to how the issue divided Democrats in California, pitting centrist and establishment figures who had worked for the Obama administration against the left.

After California legislators in 2019 passed Assembly Bill 5, which sought to eliminate legal gray areas around gig work, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other companies mounted fierce opposition, pouring $200 million into a ballot measure to supersede the legislation. The measure, Prop 22, won with more than 58 percent of the vote. And it has further complicated the question about how gig work should be defined.

The result in California may have dissuaded Democrats who were already on the fence from joining the pro-employment faction on the left, policy experts said.

“Anyone who’s a little more pro-business or any kind of Democrat from a red state is not going to necessarily be with them,” said Bradley Tusk, an early Uber investor who previously served as a political strategist for the company. Still, he said, “this is the biggest organizing opportunity that private-sector unions have had in decades.”

And U.S. labor secretary nominee Marty Walsh, who as Boston mayor pushed to raise fees on Uber and Lyft to benefit public transit and congestion goals, will be expected to deliver the big changes gig workers were promised, Tusk said.

Biden was explicit during his campaign about what he regarded as the abuses of the gig work model.

“Employer misclassification of ‘gig economy’ workers as independent contractors deprives these workers of legally mandated benefits and protections,” the president-elect’s website says, adding, “This epidemic of misclassification is made possible by ambiguous legal tests that give too much discretion to employers, too little protection to workers, and too little direction to government agencies and courts.”

Read the full story at Why Biden and Democrats might not push employee status for gig workers – The Washington Post

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