A Labor Secretary Who Cares About Labor

Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, American workers have suffered a steady erosion of rights guaranteed to “employees” under federal labor laws.

But Secretary of Labor Martin J. Walsh took a step this week to reverse the trend.

Walsh said he wants to make it easier to classify gig workers as employees so they are entitled to a “safety net” of basic protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In other words, he wants to stop employers from classifying workers as independent contractors simply to avoid paying minimum wage, holiday and overtime pay, etc.

Walsh said he will not enforce a rule adopted by the Trump administration that would have made it harder for employees who are wrongly classified as independent contractors to demand their right to be treated like employees.

1 in 6

Gig workers represent a rapidly growing segment of the American workforce due to the explosive rise of app-based services like Uber, Airbnb, Fiverr and Task Rabbit.

The ADP Research Institute estimates that one in six “enterprise” workers are gig workers.

Continue reading “A Labor Secretary Who Cares About Labor”

The Biggest Labor Scam In Modern History?

Threatened with regulation, multibillion-dollar gig economy employers convinced California voters this week to pass a ballot initiative that exempts app-base rideshare and delivery services from state wage and hour laws.

Uber and Lyft, ridesharing services, and DoorDash, a meal delivery service, among others, raised more than $200 million to conduct a supposed voter initiative called Proposition 22, which is believed to be the most expensive voter initiative in American history.

By approving Prop. 22, California voters permitted app-based employers to classify their drivers under state law as “independent contractors” who are ineligible for minimum wage, overtime, health insurance and reimbursement for expenses.

The gig employers’ $200 million purse bought a comprehensive media campaign but another factor may be even more critical to the campaign’s success – the gig employers were able to use their apps to warn actual customers and drivers of a “parade of horribles” (i.e. higher prices) that might ensue if their drivers were classified as employees instead of  independent consequences.

Moreover, they worded the actual ballot measure in an “artful” manner. Voters were told that failure to approve the measure would result in drivers having “less choice about when, where, and how much to work .”

Bottom line – the gig employers used a tool meant to be used by voters – not big business – to evade a law that was passed by voters’ elected representatives in California’s General Assembly for the purpose of protecting workers in California.

Continue reading “The Biggest Labor Scam In Modern History?”

End Of The Road For ‘Misclassification’ of Workers by Lyft and Uber?

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion Wednesday to enjoin Uber and Lyft from continuing to classify ride-hailing drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

The motion, filed in San Francisco Superior Court, follows the 2019 passage of Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), a law codifying a landmark California Supreme Court ruling that places the burden on employers to show they are properly classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees.  

In Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, California’s high court said most workers should be classified as employees and receive sick leave and unemployment and workers’ compensation. 

Though AB5 went into effect on Jan. 1, Lyft and Uber continue to classify their drivers as independent contractors, while pocketing the cost of employee benefits. 

Along with several other app-coordinated services,  Uber and Lyft are furiously promoting a ballot measure for the November election to exempt gig workers from the AB5 rules. Continue reading “End Of The Road For ‘Misclassification’ of Workers by Lyft and Uber?”

A Million Violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act?

What happens when  an individual or group asserts a human right that interferes with another individual or group’s rights and freedoms?

If the disadvantaged group is older Americans, their rights silently slip away.

Earlier this month, a coalition of 55 top U.S. companies  called The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative issued a press release touting a  “long-term effort” in the Atlanta area to bring jobs to “youth” aged 16 to 24 who are not in school or unemployed. Coalition members made thousands of on-the-spot job offers at a job fair on May 3. Coalition members have held similar hiring  events in Washington,  D.C., Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix and Seattle since the coalition’s formation six years ago.

The coalition now says it “aims to hire at least 1 million youth nationally  by 2021.”

The problem is that it is illegal under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) to refuse to hire workers aged 40 and above because of their age or, alternatively, because they aren’t between the ages of 16 and 24.  It also is illegal for a company to adopt a policy or practice  that has a disparate impact upon older workers.  Clearly, the rights of older workers to be free from invidious age discrimination in hiring have given way … but to what exactly? Continue reading “A Million Violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act?”