Advocates representing 24 million workers nationwide slam legislation just introduced that would permanently misclassify millions of app based workers: “Dangerous and designed to deny fair pay and protections”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, America’s largest labor and progressive coalition representing 24 million workers slammed new federal legislation just introduced and backed by Uber and Lyft. The coalition warned the so-called “Worker Flexibility and Choice Act” is an anti-worker proposal intended to further endanger already vulnerable gig economy workers, calling it an attempt by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D TX-28) and multibillion dollar corporations to bring Silicon Valley’s union-busting playbook to the federal stage.
The Worker Power Coalition, which represents 40 labor and social justice organizations including app-based worker advocacy group Rideshare Drivers United, warns the proposal would permanently codify the misclassification of workers across the gig industry – a move intended to ensure rideshare drivers and delivery workers are denied basic labor protections like health insurance and sick time while continuing to receive poverty pay on the front lines of the pandemic.
“Uber and Lyft poured $200 million into Prop 22 in California to take away our rights to unemployment benefits, workplace safety and sick time. All during a global pandemic. Now they’re trying to do it federally,” said Nicole Moore, a part-time Lyft driver and the President of Rideshare Drivers United. “Legalizing the misclassification of app-based workers would deny hundreds of thousands of workers essential workplace protections, and amount to billions of dollars in corporate handouts to a multi-billion dollar industry.”
Although Uber and Lyft have claimed the bill is bipartisan, the only Democrat backing it is Rep. Henry Cuellar, the only Democrat in the House to vote against the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and an infamously anti-worker lawmaker who was nearly thrown out of office after being forced into primary run-off.
“The latest attack on working people by Rep. Cuellar is proof positive that elections matter,” says International Union of Painters and Allied Trades President Jimmy Williams. “Rep. Cuellar voted against the PRO Act, which would fix worker misclassification, to side with billionaire executives in Silicon Valley over his constituents. Uber and Lyft are spending hundreds of millions of dollars at the state and national levels to try to ensure they don’t have to play by the same rules as every other employer. The House has acted: now, the time has never been more urgent for the Senate to hold a vote for the passage of the PRO Act.”
The PRO Act would hold mega corporations like Uber and Lyft accountable for illegally retaliating against workers speaking out about their workplace issues, and allow them to be classified as full employees and to unionize for better pay and job safety. For national labor unions, the PRO Act has emerged as a key litmus test for the 2022 midterms amid rampant union-busting by Starbucks and Amazon, which has highlighted America’s broken labor laws. The bipartisan PRO Act eliminates worker misclassification widespread in the gig economy and ensures protections for freelancers.
The Worker Power Coalition represents 24 million workers across the country and unites labor unions, grassroots organizations, businesses, worker advocates, think tanks, environmental activists, and more with the goal of strengthening labor laws, including passing the PRO Act to empower workers, strengthen their workplace protections, and increase their ability to use their voices collectively.