Fight Over Gig Workers Persists Despite Win for Uber and Lyft

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“Tens of thousands of drivers in New York State, who as independent contractors were getting hundreds of dollars less, as employees are entitled to up to $504 a week,” mentioned Bhairavi Desai, the chief director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which helped carry the lawsuit. “The state would have to roll back a right that people have already enjoyed.”

The victory of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. additionally seems to have given labor further leverage. The National Labor Relations Board beneath President Trump has deemed gig staff to be contractors, which denied them a federally protected proper to prepare. The Labor Department has taken an analogous method, suggesting in an opinion letter that some gig staff weren’t protected beneath federal minimal wage and additional time legal guidelines. In September, the division proposed a regulation that will codify and develop that discovering.

But beneath Mr. Biden, who has longstanding ties to labor unions and who opposed Prop. 22, the labor board and the Labor Department are more likely to again away from these positions. The president-elect has additionally come out in favor of the Pro Act, a proposal that will make it more durable for firms to misclassify staff as contractors and successfully make gig staff workers beneath federal labor legislation.

The scenario in Washington will not be totally clear lower, nonetheless. Some advisers to Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris even have ties to the gig firms or have written favorably a few compromise. Ms. Harris’s brother-in-law is Uber’s chief authorized officer. Some labor activists fear that the Biden administration could possibly be amenable to a take care of gig firms.

“We are trying to lead the way in California but it is necessary to deal with misclassification on a national level,” mentioned Ms. Gonzalez, the assemblywoman. “I am hopeful that Joe Biden will do what his platform said and address these issues.”

The final final result on this battle might hinge on a sometimes-bitter debate on the left: Is it important for gig staff to benefit from the standing of workers, and the advantages and protections that ensures? Or can gig staff win a residing wage and favorable working circumstances in the event that they aren’t workers however have collective bargaining rights that permit them to demand these items from the gig firms?

Brendan Sexton, the chief director of the Independent Drivers Guild, a corporation affiliated with the International Association of Machinists that has acquired funding from Uber and Lyft, has argued in testimony earlier than the New York Legislature that “collective bargaining rights is the only way to stop the exploitation.”

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