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Is New York the next California on gig economy regulation?

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled his state could take a page out of California’s playbook by regulating the gig economy during his “State of the State” address on Wednesday.

“Today’s economy works brilliantly for innovators, shareholders, and billionaires, but it abuses workers,” the Democrat said according to prepared remarks provided by his office. “This year more than 40 percent of the workforce will be in jobs related to the new gig economy — an economy which has spurred growth and many innovations, but which excludes many workers from the progress of fair pay and benefits.”

CALIFORNIA’S GIG WORKER LAW WENT INTO EFFECT; THESE GROUPS ARE FIGHTING IT

Cuomo’s support for regulations on gig workers, and the companies that rely on them, comes after California’s Assembly Bill 5 went into effect on Jan. 1. New York lawmakers have proposed similar legislation, and Cuomo has appeared to resist piling regulations on companies like Uber, until now.

“Too many corporations are increasing their profits at the expense of the employee and the taxpayer. That must end,” he said. “A driver is not an independent contractor simply because she drives her own car on the job.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, speaks at rally calling for passage of her measure to limit when companies can label workers as independent contractors at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Groups including Uber drivers, truckers and freelance writers are fighting the regulation that Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed in September. AB5, sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, would require many businesses to treat their gig workers as employees. It even caps the number of articles that freelance journalists can be paid for.

“I think that New York should be looking at what’s happening in California seeing it as a warning sign,” Heritage Foundation economics research fellow Rachel Greszler told FOX Business. “You end up hurting the people you’re trying to help.”

For example, freelance writers in California are grappling with rejection letters — and decisions by sites like SB Nation to drop about 200 contractors — as part of the fallout from AB5.

“It’s Christmas Eve Lorena Gonzalez,” writer Jenna Busch wrote on Twitter last month. “Hope you’re spending it with your family. Because of #AB5, I’m spending mine applying for jobs outside my field so I can pay my rent. Hope you’re dreaming of sugar plums. I’m having nightmares about my future.”

Entrepreneur John Chuang, an advocate of AB5, told FOX Business that AB5 is disruptive but worth it. Legislation is needed to “address the ambiguity in New York labor laws when it comes to classifying W-2 employees and independent contractors,” Chuang told FOX Business.

“The gig economy currently has an unfair advantage over all other businesses that pay employer payroll taxes and provide benefits,” Chuang said. “Enacting this law would level the playing field for all workers and enable companies to provide benefits to attract and retain the best talent.”

Some companies are being forced to come up with creative solutions to maintain their relationships with California workers. Maverick Trading announced on Thursday that it will be able to keep working with California traders as long as they trade through their own corporations or LLCs.

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“For a brief moment, we were presented with a decision whether or not to release our existing California-based traders as well as to discontinue accepting new California traders,” the firm said in a press release. “Our traders are the firm’s greatest assets and we refused to believe that the only option was to cast out a segment of our traders simply because of where they lived.”

Greszler said AB5 has the potential to drive people out of California — and similar legislation could do the same in New York. California is on track to lose a seat in Congress for the first time in history.

“You’re seeing people vote with their feet,” Greszler said.

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Iberdrola and GIG in 3.3GW offshore wind push in Japan

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Iberdrola has acquired local developer Acacia Renewables and entered into a joint venture with Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) to develop its 3.3GW offshore wind portfolio.

Prior to the acquisition, Acacia was Macquarie Capital’s Japanese renewable energy platform, according to its website.

Acacia’s portfolio includes two projects with a combined capacity of 1.2GW at a more advanced stage, and a further four with a combined capacity of 2.1GW.

Spanish energy giant Iberdrola and the GIG aim to enter the first 1.2GW batch of wind farms – located off the south-west coast of Japan – in upcoming auctions announced by the Japanese government.

These first two projects could be commissioned by 2028, Iberdrola claimed.

The company said it has set its sights on Japan as a “new growth platform” in renewables, and offshore wind in particularly.

Iberdrola has stakes in operational offshore wind farms worldwide with a combined capacity of just over 1GW, while GIG has backed operational offshore wind projects with a combined capacity of just under 1.3GW, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly

The two companies will both take charge of developing Acacia’s projects.

Acacia had issued public notices of Environmental Impact Assessments for the six sites. These are wind farms called Satsuma, Nanao Shika, Fukui Konpira, Shiroishi Kosugo, Fukui Konpira and Tono.

There is currently just over 40MW of operational wind power capacity installed in Japanese waters, according to Windpower Intelligence.

However, a growing number of developers are targeting the nascent market ahead of offshore wind tenders, which are expected to be opened shortly.

Last week, Equinor, Jera and J-Power joined a long list of partnerships targeting the Japanese offshore wind market, despite the nation’s apparent slow uptake of the technology.

In 2019, the Japan Wind Power Association said that the lengthy process for environmental impact assessment was having an impact on the development of offshore wind.

One of the main obstacles for wind developers in Japan comes from opposition from local fishing communities.

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In Season Of Strikes For Gig Workers, Now Swiggy Delivery Execs In Noida Rebel

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After strikes in Chennai and Hyderabad in the last 30 days, Swiggy’s delivery executives in Noida have gone on strike to protest against low wages

The delivery workers are demanding a minimum payout of INR 35 per order and restoration of monthly incentives, among other demands

Similar demands were also raised by Swiggy’s delivery partners in Hyderabad, who went on an indefinite strike last week

With similar demands as their counterparts in Chennai and Hyderabad, delivery executives with Indian foodtech unicorn Swiggy in Noida, on Thursday (September 17), went on a strike to protest against low wages. 

The strike comes just days after Swiggy’s delivery partners went on an indefinite strike in Hyderabad to protest against the low wages and to press their demands. 

In Noida, the protesting delivery workers are demanding a minimum payout per order of INR 35, a minimum payout of INR 20 per batched order (when the driver has to make more than one delivery in a single trip), and a payout at the rate of INR 10 per km after the worker has travelled more than 5 km for making a delivery, among other things.

The delivery partners in Noida, affiliated with the All India Gig Workers Union (AIGWU), have also demanded the reinstatement of monthly incentives of up to INR 3,000 for full-time work and INR 2,000 for part-time work. 

Further, the delivery partners are also demanding extra wages for deliveries made while it rains, or in nights, as also, compensation for waiting time at restaurants, while the order is being prepared. 

“Swiggy delivery workers are taking extraordinary risks by delivering food and essentials to people during this pandemic. The company cannot reward us by cutting our payouts and incentives. Our demands should be met at the earliest,” reads the letter stating the demands of AIGWU for Swiggy’s delivery workers, addressed to Swiggy’s CEO Sriharsha Majety. 

The demands of the delivery workers in Noida are similar to the demands of the workers in Hyderabad, who, earlier this week, launched an indefinite strike to protest against Swiggy paying low wages to the delivery workers. 

The workers in Hyderabad have alleged that during the lockdown, their minimum payout per order reduced from INR 35 to INR 15, while the company also removed monthly incentives to the tune of INR 5,000. 

When asked about the protest of delivery workers in Hyderabad earlier this week, a Swiggy spokesperson told Inc42, “Most delivery partners in Hyderabad make over INR 45 per order, with the highest performing partners making over INR 75 per order. This INR 15 is only one of the many components of the service fee.”

“Naturally, no active delivery partners in Hyderabad have made only INR 15 per order in the last four weeks. It is important to note that the service fee per order is based on multiple factors to adequately compensate our partners including distance travelled, waiting time, customer experience, shift completion and incentives. Regular competitive benchmarking shows that these are at par, if not higher than the industry standards,” Spokesperson added.

In what has been a season of strikes for gig workers, last month, Swiggy’s delivery executives in Chennai had gone on strike to press for their demands. A few days after the strike in Chennai, Swiggy told NDTV that the company had had a positive dialogue with the protesting delivery partners and was back to serving the entire city of Chennai with its fleet of workers.

Meanwhile, the Indian government’s new draft social security code is said to have recognised gig workers, and will mandate gig economy companies to contribute to a social security fund for gig and platform workers, reported Business Standard. Approved by the Union Cabinet last week, the code, which will have several other benefits outlined for gig workers, will come up in the Parliament’s ongoing monsoon session.



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Gig work is risky for apps, too – Hartford Courant

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