Renée Lynn Reizman on Thu, 12 Sep 2019 19:31:38 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Gig Workers Rising (Felix Stalder)

This originated with a case called Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of California. Dynamex, a courier service company (i.e. trucking,) switched their workers from employees to independent contractors in 2004, which saved them money on paying them benefits, retirement plans, vacation time, etc. Eventually this case rose to the CA Supreme Court and the courts established a 3 prong, "ABC test" to determine employee vs. independent contractor status. Because Dynamex has direct oversight of their workers, they have to hire as employees.

As a supreme court decision, people quickly realized that the Dynamex decision would have a ripple effect into all freelancing professions. Ride share companies panicked. 
An Uber driver doesn't get to set their rate & they're working their job indefinitely (rather than hopping from gig to gig,) They are more inclined to fight for employee status. 

But the ABC test is quite broad, affecting freelancers in all fields, not just the gig economy.
A Hollywood camera operator, for instance, may prefer to be an independent contractor for every gig they work in a year, getting paid a rate they set themselves, rather than being employed by, say, 5+ companies that produce the films, tv shows, or commercials they do in a given year. With most of the press focusing solely on gig economy jobs, the divisiveness of the bill has been overshadowed.

Exemptions include: doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, accountants, architects, realtors, travel agents, graphic designers, human resources administrators, grant writers, marketers, fine artists, investment advisors.

Weirdly, music industry reps have struggled to agree on their exemptions, and have become allies with gig economy software platforms.

Here's the ABC test. If you fail to meet the description of any, not all, of the prongs, you need to be hired as an employee:
1) Part A of the test requires that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact; and

2) Part B of the test requires that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and

3) Part C of the test requires that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.

Sorry I don't know more about the specific organizations that fought for AB5. I'm pulling all my knowledge from the top of my head - I work for a non-profit that gives legal aid & education to artists

On Thu, Sep 12, 2019 at 3:00 AM <> wrote:
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Today's Topics:

   1. Gig Workers Rising (Felix Stalder)


Message: 1
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 2019 08:43:57 +0200
From: Felix Stalder <>
To: nettime-l <>
Subject: <nettime> Gig Workers Rising
Message-ID: <" target="_blank">>
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I'm still amazed at the passing of Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) [1] in
California, eventually ensuring "gig economy workers are entitled to
minimum wage, workers? compensation and other benefits." [2] If this law
becomes effective (as of January 2020), I think it constitutes a major
fork in the road.

Does somebody know the alignment of forces that made the passage of this
bill -- against the significant resistance  of the companies most
affects, Uber and Lyft -- possible?

One actor was "Gig Workers Rising","a campaign supporting and educating
app and platform workers who are organizing for better wages, working
conditions and jobs." [3] It seem like three out of four of their
demands are addressed in the law.

But who else and how was it done?



Uber and Lyft executives make billions. But what about drivers?

Drivers are standing up to demand a fair return on the billions they
make for Uber & Lyft:

* Living wage
        Uber and Lyft must pay drivers a livable hourly rate
        (after expenses).

        Clear policies on wages, tips, fare breakdowns
        and deactivations.

* Benefits
        Such as disability, workers comp, retirement, health care,
        death benefits, and paid time off.

*Voice at work
        A recognized independent worker organization, the
        freedom to stand together without fear of retaliation
        and a fair and transparent process for deactivations.

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