The battle for gig employees continues regardless of the victory for Uber and Lyft


"Tens of thousands of drivers in New York state getting hundreds of dollars less as independent contractors as employees are entitled to up to $ 504 a week," said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance helped in the lawsuit bring to. "The state should turn back a right that people have already enjoyed."

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s victory appears to have added leverage to the work. President Trump's National Labor Relations Board has classified gig workers as contractors, denying them a federally protected right to organize. The Department of Labor took a similar approach, warning in a letter of opinion that some gig workers were not protected by federal minimum wage and overtime laws. In September, the department proposed an ordinance to codify and expand this statement.

But under Mr. Biden, who has long been associated with trade unions and who speaks out against Prop. 22, the Labor Authority and the Ministry of Labor are likely to withdraw from these positions. The president-elect has also spoken out in favor of Pro Law, a proposal that would make it harder for companies to misclassify workers as contractors and effectively make gig workers workers under federal labor law.

However, the situation in Washington is not entirely clear. Some advisors to Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also have ties with the gig companies or have written positively about a compromise. Harris & # 39; brother-in-law is Uber's chief legal officer. Some labor activists fear the Biden administration may be open to a deal with gig companies.

"We are trying to lead the way in California, but there is a need to address misclassification at the national level," said Ms. Gonzalez, the MP. "I hope Joe Biden will do what his platform said and address these issues."

The final outcome of this struggle could depend on a sometimes bitter debate on the left: is it important for gig workers to enjoy the status of employees, as well as the benefits and protection that it guarantees? Or can gig workers gain a living wage and favorable working conditions if they are not employees but have collective bargaining rights that allow them to demand these things from the gig companies?

Brendan Sexton, the executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild, an organization of the International Association of Machinists funded by Uber and Lyft, has argued in a testimony before New York lawmakers that "collective bargaining rights are the only way to stop exploitation. "