(This op-ed was first published in The Hill on October 15, 2020.)
For the past half century, employers have increasingly classified their workers as independent contractors. It is said that approximately 8 percent of American workers use independent work as their primary activity, a 22 percent increase since 2001.
More pronounced in trucking, product delivery work like Federal Express, it first emerged in transportation where it is more difficult to monitor worker behavior. But there are other obvious incentives: no social security; no minimum wage or overtime; no unemployment compensation; no sick pay; family leave or workers’ compensation; no reimbursement for travel expenses; registration; insurance; licensing and automobile depreciation; and no protection under anti-discrimination law. A growing precariat, disproportionately Black, brown and immigrants, competing with one another was particularly easy for the new on-demand economy to manipulate.
(Continue reading the op-ed on The Hill’s page here.)
William B. Gould IV, Emeritus professor at Stanford Law School and former chairman of the National Relations Board. He is the author of, “Primer on American Law, (Sixth edition)” and “Japan’s Reshaping of American Labor Law (1984).”