In modern times a large amount of American people are gig-workers. Gig-workers work for companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Doordash. There is a lot of debate around how the people who work for these businesses should be classified. Some say these workers should be considered independent contractors. This would mean the worker would not receive benefits or be subject to regular labor laws. Some believe the workers should be classified as employees so they can receive minimum wage and health benefits. This would mean workers would not be able to control their hours and truly work independently. Trump attempted to make it easier for gig-economy businesses to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The Biden administration blocked a Trump-era regulation and signaled it would take a tougher enforcement stance against employers on worker classification. The Biden administration has made creating union jobs a priority.
What is Prop 22?
Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and other companies won last November with Prop 22 in California. Prop 22 exempted those companies from a state law that would have required them to classify their workers as employees. The companies aggressively opposed the law. They argued it would eliminate worker flexibility, while also increasing consumer prices and wait times. In January of last year, in an attempt to prove drivers are independent contractors, Uber released the multiplier option which allowed drivers to see passengers and destinations before accepting the ride, as well as set their own rates.
What has Happened since Prop 22?
Some gig-workers have fought to be classified as employees so they could qualify for benefits like paid sick leave, health insurance. Gig-Companies and other advocates say keeping employees as independent contractors will help maintain worker flexibility. Lyft spokeswoman Julie Wood said the company sees the regulatory action as an “opportunity to refocus the conversation on what drivers need and want, which is independence plus benefits.” Many drivers are worried about the recent change in the rate they are being paid. An Uber spokesperson said the changes and rebalancing rates are part of a pilot program to improve airport pickups for riders and drivers. Among the most recent changes is a reduction in mileage rates from Los Angeles international airport. The airport mileage rate for Uber was reduced from 65 cents a mile to 32 cents a mile. The multiplier option and features for drivers to turn down unwanted rides has largely been revoked because drivers were turning down too many rides. Passenger fees were increased by Uber and Lyft despite claims from app companies ahead of Prop 22 that such fees wouldn’t be increased. Drivers aren’t being paid proportionally to fee increases. Lyft has implemented similar fee structures.
Is America being Unionized?
If the big gig-work companies can’t fix the wage gap between them and their workers, more of them will want to be considered employees in order to even receive fair wages. The gig-economy is already in danger of crumbling according to Dick Morris during ‘Stinchfield’ on Newsmax. “It takes 30-40 million Americans who work for themselves, work on the gig economy – Uber drivers, Lyft drivers, me working as a consultant to Newsmax, you probably,” Morris said to Stinchfield, “and we would no longer be able to be independent contractors. We would have to go on the Newsmax payroll.” Morris noted it would likely force workers to work full time and take away flexibility for the worker and the employers, potentially eliminating some jobs altogether. “It’s all a device to unionize the country, regimentize them, force them onto a payroll, and then force them into a union,” Morris concluded. This seems to be true since Joe Biden showed that he is one of the most pro-union presidents in American history by declaring the “unions built the middle class” in his address to a joint session of Congress. Some labor experts say Biden may prove to be even more pro-union than Franklin D Roosevelt, who signed landmark legislation creating a minimum wage and giving workers a federal protected right to unionize. How do you feel about the possibility of a majorly unionized America?
Written by: Erinn Malloy