A coalition of business groups and firms, including Uber and Lyft, are launching a campaign to oppose efforts to provide benefits and labor protections to workers in the so-called “gig” economy. The groups say it could hurt the flexibility of the work.
The coalition, known as Flexible Work for New York, is also launching digital ads this week ahead of the coming debate over how to classify workers who drive ride hailing vehicles, deliver food through apps like Door Dash and provide other on-demand services.
“New Yorkers rely on flexible work to start small businesses, care for loved ones, pursue education on their own time, and more,” the coalition said in a statement. “We urge State lawmakers to protect flexible, independent work and fight to expand protections for these New Yorkers.”
It’s the clearest sign yet that the debate over contract and independent workers in the “gig” sector could be one of the more contentious ones to face state lawmakers when they return to Albany in January.
Workers classified as independent contractors, a status that traditional jobs have, like access to employer-based health care, retirement benefits and other guarantees that have become a staple of post-World War II jobs.
A similar effort in California to re-classify independent contractors was successful earlier this year.
The companies have argued that the work provides flexible hours to workers. The coalition pointed to a Department of Labor survey of independent workers who are satisfied with their current arrangements and few would prefer a more traditional form of employment. A 2016 national survey found most independent workers are freelance by choice.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has previously signaled that he would be open to new labor standards for gig economy workers.