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

Judgment gives gig workers avenue to unionize

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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https://www.instagram.com/p/CthxO6duqCN/

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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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What is The Sum?

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The Sum is your friendly guide to personal finance and economic news.

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We’re a team of McClatchy journalists cutting through the financial jargon so you know how these issues impact your life. We verify information from diverse sources and keep the facts front-and-center, making finance and economic news add up for you.

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You can follow The Sum on Instagram and TikTok.

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Ready to take the first step to getting your finances under control? You can sign up for our five-week budgeting newsletter at thesum.news.

Articles related to Sacramento Bee

Courtlin Stark writes in The Thumb about finance and economics. She previously covered City Hall for the Kansas City Star, and she joined The Star in January 2020 as a breaking news reporter. Courtlin studied journalism and Spanish at Missouri State University.



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