March 17, 2016
By Steven Wishnia
Sacramento, CA – A bill introduced March 9 would amend California labor law so independent contractors working for online services could organize and bargain collectively.
The 1099 Self-Organizing Act, sponsored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) would cover groups of 10 or more independent contractors who work for “hosting platforms” such as Uber and Lyft. It would not classify workers as employees of those services, but would allow them to negotiate in groups instead of as individuals. “We have this Wild West economy right now that is being conducted with very few or no rules,” Gonzalez said, but called her bill “a free-market approach” because it would “allow the workers and the employers to get together and negotiate something that works for both of them.” “I think being able to collectively bargain with companies like Uber would help the independent contractors have job security and income security,” said Kevin McGraham, 39, a driver from San Diego. If the bill is enacted, it would almost certainly face court challenges. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has filed a suit alleging that Seattle’s law that lets independent taxi drivers unionize violates federal anti-trust and labor law. Read more