AFL-CIO Asserts that Gig Economy Workers Are Employees
by Kenneth Quinnell
The AFL-CIO Executive Council affirmed that working people in the gig economy share a single common designation: employees.
The council further affirmed that working people deserve the full benefits that come with that status. On-demand economy companies are increasingly leaving workers without the full rights and protections of regular employees.
Innovation and technological progress have bolstered productivity, yet too many working people have not reaped the benefits of their labor. In a statement passed by the council, labor leaders noted that:
Making the right policy choices begins with ensuring people who work for on-demand companies enjoy the rights and protections of employees. Under current law, only workers who are defined as ‘employees’ are protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and enjoy minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and family and medical leave.
Unions have long been fighting back against employers who misclassify working people and create precarious, vulnerable work. This is what we do. The AFL-CIO is committed to ensuring new technology—and new forms of employer manipulation—do not erode the rights of working people. Rest assured that if employers get away with pretending their workers aren’t employees, your job could be next.
For decades, precarious and vulnerable work—such as part-time and temporary work with few benefits—have been the reality for a significant part of the workforce, especially for people of color, women and immigrants. The council is calling on companies to accept their responsibilities as employers and provide jobs that pay enough for working people to sustain themselves and their families.
“The AFL-CIO is committed to working with our allies, businesses and community partners to enact policies that will prevent gig economy workers from falling through the cracks,” said AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler. “If we act now, we can build a future of work that promises working people a better life.”
To read the complete statement, click here.