Good things are happening! A new Labor Department rule will expand the basic rights of gig workers. Also, an anti-abortion case with national ramifications was stopped in its tracks, unionized nurses in the Midwest are holding hospitals accountable, wind farms are proving to be a great return on investment, and Delaware is breaking cycles of debt with a bold new policy.
All this and much more in this week’s edition of You Love To See It below, a weekly feature reviewing good news, progress, and action steps that’s one of the many features available only to Lever supporting subscribers.
Biden Admin Moves To Protect Gig Workers
The Department of Labor announced a new rule that could help millions of gig workers, including drivers, janitors, and construction workers, by classifying them as employees rather than independent contractors. This reclassification could require companies to provide gig workers with the same benefits as employees: a minimum wage, overtime pay, and unemployment insurance.
“While independent contractors have an important role in our economy, we have seen in many cases that employers misclassify their employees as independent contractors, particularly among our nation’s most vulnerable workers,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “Misclassification deprives workers of their federal labor protections, including their right to be paid their full, legally earned wages.”
After the proposed rule was announced, the stocks of Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash — companies that rely on exploitative gig arrangements — plummeted. “There’s no better proof that gig companies’ business model is built on exploitation of workers,” tweeted labor reporting group More Perfect Union.
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, leader of the California Labor Federation, told the New York Times that the impacts of the new rule depend on how aggressively the Biden administration chooses to enforce it. Even so, the guidance will likely shape how judges and employers determine worker classification.
“Companies just continue to break labor law. They break it at the local level, the state level and federally, and there are no consequences. Everything is about enforcement,” said Fletcher.