Issues & Insights

Biden To Gig Workers: Drop Dead

Crime will be fresh on the minds of voters during November’s midterm elections. But there is no greater robbery than that being planned by the Biden administration. What it’s proposing is a government-backed mugging.

In essence, the White House wants to outlaw gig work in America. No, it’s not saying so outright. The Biden Labor Department obscures that harsh reality with words meant to deceive. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh says the department’s proposal is needed to safeguard “​​our nation’s most vulnerable workers,” and ensure they are not deprived “of their federal labor protections.”

Left out is the part that, should the proposal become policy, millions of Americans will be stripped of their jobs and income. Under its rule, the Labor Department would be free to “determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” And it will determine in every case that the worker in question must be a hired employee, no longer free to continue his or her job as an independent contractor.

How can we be so sure as to say “every case”? There’s precedent. Almost three years ago Assembly Bill 5, passed and signed in 2019, went into effect in California. The standard it put in place to determine if workers could remain independent contractors is so high that it is virtually impossible to reach. Everyone has to be a hired employee or their job is lost.

But couldn’t businesses simply hire gig workers? Sure, some could. But many companies, especially growing companies, rely on independent contracting because the steep costs of employment that are mandated by government make hiring unaffordable.

While some in California escaped the death sentence of AB5 by going to the expense of setting up limited-liability corporations for themselves, a bit of outrage saved a few others. Under pressure, lawmakers eventually granted a handful of exemptions. But the law still stands, the hurdle too much for many to clear.

Don’t dream that the Biden Labor Department will play the game, which is entirely for the benefit of labor union bosses who want to organize the gig workers who have to be hired, any differently than California did. It will put forth its best effort to ensure that every worker will be classified as an employee and cannot work unless formally hired.

While the Labor Department solicits comments before it puts its cruel plan to work, we’ll do our part by presenting a few facts that show just how reprehensible the proposal is:

  • It’s a flagrant violation of the cooperative agreements made between gig workers and the businesses and organizations they perform work for. Under the Biden plan, the rights of workers to be free agents in the labor market, and of companies and organizations to set up the operational models that best fit them, would be snuffed out.
  • There was no grassroots movement demanding that California outlaw independent contracting. Assembly Bill 5 was instigated by labor leaders who wanted to force rideshare drivers into their unions, and a former state lawmaker, Lorena Gonzalez, who resigned from the Assembly to be the top boss at the California Labor Federation. She demonstrated just what she thought of workers when she publicly dismissed bill opponents and even insulted them, sometimes with foul language.
  • Gig workers are happy with the way they set up their lives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, independent contractors “overwhelmingly” favor their “alternative employment arrangement (79%) to a traditional one (9%).” Almost nine in 10 (86%) “of freelancers think that the best days for freelancers are yet to come.”
  • Independent contractors have a flexibility most hired employees don’t. They are free to make their own hours and their own schedules.
  • Gig jobs allow hired workers to earn part-time money to pay for financial emergencies, down payments for large purchases, even Christmas gifts for the kids. Freelance work can keep the income flowing between full-time jobs as well as stabilize personal finances during economic downturns.
  • Independent contractors can work for multiple businesses at once, leave a job when they please, choose work that interests them, and accommodate family and school schedules.
  • “More than one third (36%) of U.S. workers are in the gig economy,” reports Forbes, “which works out to a very large number of approximately 57 million people.” Within five years, the number is expected to grow to 86.5 million.
  • California’s independent truckers, 70,000 of them, are still waiting, after years of court battles, for clarification of their status. Imagine, then, an entire nation of independent truckers barred from their work. The supply chain problems we’ve seen up to now would become the good ol’ days by comparison.
  • The gig economy is an economic growth machine. Its global value is expected to reach $455 billion next year, roughly 2.5 times larger than it was just for years ago ($204 billion).

It is impossible to overstate how vicious and cold-hearted the proposed federal rule is. Everyone involved should be ashamed and publicly apologize for even considering a policy that will harm so many. But then we’re dealing with a class of bandits that has no conscience, no principles outside of consolidating their political power. We don’t expect anyone to say they’re sorry.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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  • Union goons and political thugs. An iteration on a national-scale of California’s War Against Worker Freedoms. Implemented by money-hungry Union bosses and their power-hungry communist/Democrat political comrades. Killing off independent truckers, freelance writers, etc. is just one spoke in the larger wheel. In the diabolic Philly Independence Hall speech, POTUS declared domestic warfare against political enemies. The Mar-a-Lago Raid with the weaponized DOJ, FBI and National Archives (which tagged the Bill of Rights as domestic terrorism) is now symbolic of the USA’s deterioration into a domestic police state. To Joe Manchin’s newly armed and expanded IRS army, add a Weaponized Labor Department. Should be renamed as Ministry of Worker Enslavement. The diabolical, California communist end game necessitates destroying the USA as a nation of Liberty, Justice and Freedom for All. To preserve democracy, they tell us -Big Lie.

  • This is similar to the UK’s catastrophic IR35 tax regulations that have decimated self-employed contractors across industry and are in the process of being rolled back by the present government.

  • AB5 was one of many reasons I left California in 2019 (other reasons had been accumulating for a decade or more before that).
    Between health issues, family responsibilities, and various other factors, I’m unable to take regular employment nowadays. Doing odd jobs (mainly freelance engineering services) suits me just fine. A requirement that all workers be herded into corporate cubicle farms on behalf of the unions may benefit the big corps and the big unions, but it’s very bad for workers such as myself who need highly flexible schedules.

  • Fortunately, California loosened up the ABC test somewhat in April of 2020. AB 2257 makes it much easier for those in the creative fields to avoid the mandates. However I have seen no commentary on the Department of Labor plan that acknowledges those exceptions. So, who knows?

    And for anyone engaged in any legal working activity, the whole idea IS STILL WRONG AND IMMORAL.

  • I’ve been working in IT as an independent contract for 20 years. If this thing happens I’m out of business. This is absolute garbage and needs to be stopped.

    • I think you’ll find that’s the object of the exercise, to cull the self-employed.
      That’s certainly what happened in the UK, it drove much of bespoke IT project work offshore, mainly to India.

  • Where can someone go to comment on this by the way? I went to the DOL website and it’s impossible to find any info.

    If someone could post a link that would be great.

    • You must go through proper channels.
      Simply submit all your comments through your accredited union representative, and they will be taken into consideration.

  • Back when my children were pre-school and school age I was a gig worker. My husband covered the health ins. life ins. through his employment and I worked the hours and took the jobs that I wanted. BTW, we lived in CA at the time. I guess in today’s CA I wouldn’t be allowed to work.
    I wasn’t alone in finding a solution to making income and taking care of my children. It was amazing the creativity women of small children and their solutions to work/income and their children.

  • I left Cali when when that passed. Contractor workers no longer had the right to work. Canary in the coal mine on individual liberties. Thank God it occurred before covid hit and I quickly made the choice to bail. Missed it by a few months. No way was I going to work in house again after what I went through working for same company for 15 years. It was driven into the ground i think on purpose when venture cap company bought the company. Ceo born in communist country; so called “american” purposely, I think, tanked company in 3 years time. All the veteran employees thought the same.

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