Can gig workers form unions? Federal agency ruling paves the way

Can gig workers form unions? Federal agency ruling paves the way

The National Labor Relations Board issued a decision to change the way independent contractors are classified and to create a way to organize independent contractors.

Sam News

Gig workers, such as drivers for Uber or Lyft,could now have a path toward unionizing due to a new ruling, creating a way for them to organize and even strike.

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The National Labor Relations Board, an independent federal agency that safeguards the right to organize, and prevents and remedies unfair labor practices, issued a ruling on Tuesday that changes how independent contractors are classified.

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“Applying this clear standard will ensure that workers who seek to organize or exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act are not improperly excluded from its protections,” Chairman Lauren McFerran said in a statement.

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A quick definition: The gig economy is a labor market that relies on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers, according to Investopedia.

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The NLRB decision threw out a previous standard implemented during the Trump administration for classifying workers that excluded independent contractors, Reuters reported. The new ruling broadens the factors that the government looks at for determining if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, a return to an Obama-era test, according to The Washington Post.

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Now, they’ll look at how much control companies have over workers, as well as the level of dependence workers have on one company.

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“When workers are misclassified under the National Labor Relations Act, it deprives them of the collective bargaining that we know improves job quality, wages, and racial income and wealth gaps,” Brian Chen, policy director at Data & Society, a nonprofit technology research organization, told The Washington Post.

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But some think the move isn’t helpful.

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”This decision will only generate greater confusion and uncertainty, while undermining the independent work that millions of Americans have chosen, often in lieu of traditional employment,” Kristin Sharp, CEO of gig economy trade association Flex, told Reuters.

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@thesum.news “Applying this clear standard will ensure that workers who seek to organize or exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act are not improperly excluded from its protections,” Chairman Lauren McFerran said in a statement. The ruling followed a union campaign by makeup artists and hairstylists for the Atlanta Opera. The National Labor Relations Board said they could hold a union election. We’re also waiting for a finalized proposed rule from the Labor Department that would increase the chances of workers to fit in the employee category instead of an independent contractor. #TheSumNews#GigEconomy#Unionizing#NLRB#NationalLaborRelationsBoard#Unions#IndependentContractor♬ original sound – The Sum

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The ruling followed a union campaign by makeup artists and hairstylists for the Atlanta Opera. The National Labor Relations Board said they could hold a union election.

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Also to come is a finalized proposed rule from the Labor Department that would increase the chances of workers to fit in the employee category instead of as an independent contractor.

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