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BLOG: AB 5 will kill the gig economy, force more companies to leave

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Kerry Jackson

Proposition 13 was called the political equivalent of a sonic boom by economist Art Laffer.

In limiting how much local governments could drain from Californians through property taxes, fed-up voters changed the political landscape with the 1978 ballot measure in a way that few state policies have, before or since.

Howard Jarvis’ Proposition 13 swept the country and made headlines around the world.

Sounds a lot like Assembly Bill 5. The difference is Prop 13 is a force for good. AB 5 is a destroyer. Worse, other states are determined to duplicate California’s mistake.

AB 5, passed and signed last month, virtually bars Californians from working in the gig economy. The law, which implements a California Supreme Court decision, implements imposes a three-pronged test that identifies who’s still free to be a contract worker and who has to be a hired employee. 

A worker can be an independent contractor only if he or she:

A) Is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;

B) Performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and

C) Is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.

Is there a freelance worker who could possibly pass Part B? 

Under that requirement, janitors could work as independent contractors only when they have contracts with companies not in the business of cleaning. 

Or a rideshare driver could work under a contract with Uber or Lyft only if those companies were primarily in the business of, say, selling vacuum cleaners. 

It’s a rigid framework, says labor law firm Fisher Phillips, that will appear, if it already hasn’t, in “the nightmares of your average gig economy business executives.” 

It’s already a bad dream for workers.

Despite AB 5, Uber Drivers Would Rather Quit Than Be Employees,” reads the headline to the first installment of a two-part series in the online publication, Los Angeleno. One driver interviewed for the story said that “when the lawmakers make these laws, they don’t live our lives.”

“I have to pick my kids up or drop them off. I do that and come back to work, driving. What shift is going to let me do that other than this?”

Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton, no puppet for corporations, recently wrote “there are tens of thousands of independent contractors who apparently don’t feel the slightest bit exploited. And they don’t want anything to do with formal employment or unions.”

The few able to pass the test and will remain independent contractors might not be independent for long. 

In a signing statement, Gov. Gavin Newsom said the next step “is creating pathways for more workers to form a union, collectively bargain to earn more, and have a stronger voice at work.” 

It is “in this spirit,” he said, that he would persuade political, labor, and business leaders to support an effort in which “workers excluded from the National Labor Relations Act” would have “the right to organize and collectively bargain.”

When Skelton said that maybe the aim of AB5 was “to rope in more dues-paying union members,” he might have been more correct than he realized. 

Where Proposition 13 set off an extended era of prosperity, AB 5 will rob workers of the freedom and flexibility they want and sometimes need from freelance work, and force more companies to leave the state than already are. California’s once-dynamic economy is on track to becoming permanently sclerotic.

AB 5 is a historic mistake.

No one knows what kinds of jobs Americans will be working in 50 years, not even 25, just as who lived through the Depression had no idea what work was going to be like in the 21st century. 

Classifying jobs through a government order is going to hold back the natural evolution of work. There are already regrets and there will be many more to come.

____

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute. Pacific Research Institute is a non-partisan, free market think tank,  kerryjacksonPRI@gmail.com. He wrote this commentary for CalMatters, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.

 



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Gig workers face triangular labor relations

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The so-called “gig economy” remains particularly limited in Greece. This flexible form of labor, allowing a worker to be employed by one company so that they work for another, developed in Western Europe in the late 20th century and started spreading in the early 21st century.

Its aim was – at least at first – to cover the temporary and extraordinary needs of enterprises at a significantly reduced cost, but in Greece it did not take off at all, with the rate of “gig workers” amounting to about 0.5% of all employees.

A recent discussion that came about on the nature of labor relationships between employers and delivery workers in the gig economy – after news of efood’s decision to force dozens of employees to turn freelance – sounds familiar when one remembers the long and arduous discussion within the European Union before adopting the 2008 Directive on the equality of conventional and outsourced employees.

Still, scientists point out that while most EU countries have enforced the equal pay and employment terms for both sets of workers, there remain clear signs that this equality can be or is being violated, through other forms of labor.

The number of staff being hired from temp agency – “gig workers” – is constantly growing abroad; however, the constant expansion of the period a company may make use of the services of those outsourced employees and the continuous renewals of the same contracts may conceal the permanent needs of an enterprise without offering workers the benefits of permanent employment.

In Greece an estimated 20,000 temporary employees have signed contracts with one of at least 13 temping agencies that have been active in the country, some of them for quite some time. They tend to be mostly employed in sectors such as food service, administration, call centers, sales and unskilled labor. This is a triangular labor relationship: Companies hire workers which they then outsource to enterprises.

The special legal framework for the professional outsourcing of workers emerged in 2001 with Law 2958; amendments followed, both concerning the essence of outsourcing workers and the conditions for the creation of temporary employment companies.

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DragonWave and Siklu Introduce “Extend” Multi-Gig E-Band Solution Bringing Ultra Resilient Millimeter Wave Capacity to 6+ Miles

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Unique Adaptive, Dual Radio Technology Delivers Capacity and Range with Fiber-Equivalent Reliability of 99.999%

DALLAS and SAN JOSE, Calif., Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — COMSovereign Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: COMS) (“COMSovereign” or the “Company”), a U.S.-based developer of 4G LTE Advanced and 5G Communication Systems and Solutions, announced that its DragonWave unit and Siklu have officially introduced the “Extend”-line of Ultra high-capacity and long-range mmWave radios designed to reliably deliver multi-gigabit connections up to 6 miles (10km) or more with fiber-equivalent reliability of 99.999%.

COMSovereign Holding Corp. (PRNewsfoto/COMSovereign Holding Corp.)

COMSovereign Holding Corp. (PRNewsfoto/COMSovereign Holding Corp.)

Extend represents the next evolution of reliable, multi-gigabit millimeter wave wireless access, combining the robust and highest power packet microwave technology of DragonWave’s Harmony product line with market-leading performance of Siklu’s EtherHaul™ E-Band (70/80 GHz) radios. With Extend, DragonWave and Siklu have introduced a single solution designed to address the need for long-range, ultra-high capacity, cost-effective and ultra-reliable wireless connectivity by mobile network operators, rural broadband and wireless internet service providers (WISPs), public safety organizations, as well as city, state, and local municipalities.

Extend brings unmatched range and reliability to millimeter wave networks by leveraging Siklu’s top-performing gigabit E-band radios with the market proven, carrier-grade reliability of DragonWave’s packet microwave technology. We are pleased to expand DragonWave’s addressable market with Extend, allowing us to provide network operators of all kinds with the highest performance, longest-range, and most reliable wireless transport solution in the market today,” said Dr. Dustin McIntire, Chief Technology Officer at COMSovereign Holding Corp.

“Network operators around the world have already embraced the unique capabilities and performance benefits of millimeter wave technology for their most demanding connectivity challenges,” said Ronen Ben-Hamou, CEO of Siklu. “Together with DragonWave, Extend redefines the performance and reliability of millimeter wave wireless networking, helping us deliver on the promise of multi-gigabit wireless capacity.”

Siklu’s EtherHaul™ Extend18 and DragonWave’s Harmony Extend 80 are the first products in the new Extend line of ultra-resilient, dual band packet microwave radios. Extend combines a pair of Siklu multi-gigabit EtherHaul™ Kilo radios operating in the popular 70/80GHz bands with DragonWave’s Harmony EnhancedMC High Power carrier-grade packet microwave solutions operating in the licensed 18GHz band, to provide unmatched communications range and reliability even in adverse weather situations.

With “single click” simplicity, thanks to adaptive modulation and advanced QoS of the EtherHaul™ integrated networking engine, during significant rain events, Extend automatically maintains the availability of high priority traffic, switching to the secondary radio hitlessly. After the rain cell has passed, the EtherHaul™ link will automatically revert to its previous capacity load with no loss of traffic. Thanks to Extend’s fully monitored, dual radio design, high-performance long- distance multigigabit capacity is both economical and easy to implement.

Tom Ferris, Director U.S. Sales at Alliance Corporation, commented, “Alliance Corporation is a master distributor in the United States and Canada of both DragonWave Microwave and Siklu Millimeter Wave solutions and is very excited by the new Extend offering because of the compelling value it delivers. This new solution provides DragonWave customers additional bandwidth for their existing or new microwave links and Siklu mmWave customers the ability to achieve greater distances with higher availability than can be achieved by only using 70/80GHz frequencies. The integrated Extend offering is a best-of-breed solution from the two leading manufacturers of high-capacity wireless connectivity, and we are looking forward to bringing this unique solution to our customers.”

Extend is now available from a select list of leading authorized systems integrators and distributors including:

For more information about COMSovereign, please visit www.COMSovereign.com and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

About DragonWave
DragonWave, a unit of COMSovereign Holding Corp. (NASAQ: COMS), is a leading provider of high-capacity packet microwave solutions that drive next-generation IP networks. DragonWave’s carrier-grade, point-to-point packet microwave systems transmit broadband voice, video, and data. These microwave systems enable service providers, government agencies, enterprises, and other organizations to meet their increasing bandwidth requirements rapidly in a cost-effective time. The principal application of DragonWave’s portfolio is a wireless network transport/any-haul/Xhaul, including a range of products ideally suited to support the emergence of underlying small cell networks. Additional solutions include leased line replacement, last mile fiber extension, and enterprise networks (WAN and LAN extensions). DragonWave’s award-winning products are known in the industry for their leading capacity, reliability, and spectral efficiency.

About Siklu Inc.
Siklu delivers multi-Gigabit “wireless fiber” connectivity in urban, suburban and rural areas. Operating in the millimeter wave bands, Siklu’s wireless solutions are used by leading service providers and system integrators to provide 5G Gigabit Wireless Access services. In addition, Siklu solutions are ideal for Smart City projects requiring extra capacity such as video security, WiFi backhaul and municipal network connectivity — all running over one network. Thousands of carrier-grade systems are delivering interference-free performance worldwide. Easily installed on street-fixtures or rooftops, these radios have been proven to be the ideal solution for networks requiring fast and simple deployment of secure, wireless fiber.

Contacts For COMSovereign Holding Corp:

Steve Gersten, Director of Investor Relations
COMSovereign Holding Corp.
813-334-9745
investors@comsovereign.com

External Investor Relations:
Chris Tyson, Executive Vice President
MZ Group – MZ North America
949-491-8235
COMS@mzgroup.us
www.mzgroup.us

and

Media Relations for COMSovereign Holding Corp.:
Michael Glickman
MWGCO, Inc.
917-397-2272
mike@mwgco.net

Contacts For Siklu Inc.:

Alex Doorduyn, VP/GM – Americas
Siklu Inc.
323-217-8199
alex.d@siklu.com

Cision

Cision

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dragonwave-and-siklu-introduce-extend-multi-gig-e-band-solution-bringing-ultra-resilient-millimeter-wave-capacity-to-6-miles-301382431.html

SOURCE COMSovereign Holding Corp.



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Social entrepreneurs fight to make gig work fairer, greener

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* Gig work offers flexibility, but activists warn against low wages and few benefits

* Digital labor platforms have increased five-fold in 10 years

* New businesses use gig model to pay fair wages, cut emissions

By Kim Harrisberg

DURBAN, Sept 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When Londoner Rich Mason signed up as a bicycle food delivery rider in 2017, he found the long hours, poor pay and lack of communication from management “jaw-dropping” – so he started his own delivery app instead.

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One of his proudest moments was in June this year when his phone pinged with the first order on his Wings platform, which he says pays bicycle couriers above minimum wage, is an eco-friendly alternative to motorbikes and supports family-run restaurants.

“We wanted to create a model that is good for riders, good for society and good for the environment,” said Mason, 32, adding that he wanted to humanize the gig economy into a model that is worker-focused.

“Our brand is built on community,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a video call, adding that Wings also partners with local charities to deliver food to people in need.

The gig economy – where people pick up work in a flexible manner – boomed during COVID-19 lockdowns, as people around the world suddenly needed goods and food delivered to their homes and millions of newly jobless were looking for work.

By 2020, there were more than 777 digital labor platforms – from food delivery to web design – around the world, up from about 140 a decade earlier, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO).

But many people drawn to gig work for its flexibility have reported being exploited by companies paying low wages, and offering weak insurance policies and no sick leave while encouraging long hours.

Now social enterprises like Wings are trying to rejig the gig economy model by offering tech-driven, on-demand services that prioritize workers’ rights and ethical supply chains.

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“It is always exciting to see communities taking ownership of digital tools for work and production in a way that is fair and inclusive,” said Kelle Howson, a researcher at Fairwork, a gig economy research project at the Oxford Internet Institute.

PLANET AND PEOPLE

At the large companies that dominate the gig platform sphere, most delivery drivers are classified as “partners,” not employees, meaning they have flexible work hours but few to no benefits, such as healthcare or paid leave.

But some businesses are using elements of the gig economy – like reliance on tech, employment flexibility and direct-to-consumer orders – to create both profit and social change.

In 2014, Colombian entrepreneur Diego Benitez launched SiembraViva, an e-commerce platform that connects rural smallholder farmers with consumers while helping the farmers transition to organic produce through training and technical support.

The platform uses a WhatsApp chatbot to gather planting information from farmers to determine their ideal harvesting schedules based on customer demand, reducing waste and guaranteeing an income for the farmers.

“We work to make the fruit and veg supply chains sustainable, inclusive and efficient,” said the 40-year-old former banker, who hopes to expand into other countries in South America in the coming years.

Similar startups have sprung up around the world from Namibia to the United States, utilizing technology and direct-to-consumer models to help small-scale, organic farmers hold their own against bigger grocery stores.

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A core component of the gig economy involves door-to-door deliveries and Spanish courier company Koiki realized they could boost eco-friendly job opportunities for people at risk of social exclusion, like migrants or homeless people.

Koiki provides the technology, training and parcels for delivery people who are hired by partner charities or organizations, said marketing director Patricia De Francisco, adding that all parcels are delivered on foot or on bike to reduce the company’s carbon emissions.

Many of Koiki’s 150 couriers have physical or mental disabilities and they work out of delivery centers in their own neighborhoods so that the routes are familiar to them, said De Francisco.

“They were the heroes of the pandemic, the only ones on the roads delivering medicine and food to people in need,” she said, adding that all workers are on fixed or flexible contracts aligned with the minimum wage.

“We realize we have to take care of the planet and people if we want to be here longer,” said De Francisco.

In East Africa, Kenya-based Digital Lions became the world’s first Fairtrade verified digital agency, highlighting the enterprise’s commitment to fair pay and environmental protection using solar power and emissions offsetting.

The company has trained 300 members of the largely pastoralist community on the shores of Lake Turkana in business and tech skills, helping them enter the international market as web designers, animators and more.

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“We can create jobs in remote areas, empower and educate women and deliver quality service, that’s very hard to beat,” said co-founder Jan Veddeler.

Major gig platforms are beginning to take note of smaller players in the sector, with some incorporating their social impact goals into their own model.

In June European gig companies Delivery Hero, Bolt, Glovo, and Wolt announced the European Purpose Project – an online consultation inviting individuals to help draw up an inclusive gig economy code of conduct.

In India, businesses working with temporary staff like garment and construction workers have begun turning to LabourNet, a training and employment mediator for gig workers that has helped improve work contracts and social security benefits.

So far they have helped 8,000 people with the aim of reaching 15,000 in the coming year, said founder Gayathri Vasudevan.

Bigger corporates have also used their capital to fund ethical gig platforms – like Robinhood – launched by Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank last year to help small food businesses that had taken a hit during lockdowns.

Launched as part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, the app does not charge merchants a fee for listing on the platform, and has drawn 150,000 small food vendors and more than 2 million subscribers.

‘READY FOR ETHICAL ALTERNATIVES’

Co-operatives and enterprises like Wings and SiembraViva say consumer demand and decision making is a huge factor in rethinking the gig economy model.

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Customers are getting more discerning about how online services use their money and their impact on communities and the environment, said Mason at Wings.

“People are ready for ethical alternatives … I hope we will have built up a loyalty in our community that will come through for us and stand with us if an Uber Eats tries to kill us off in a year or two,” he said.

But customer loyalty alone is not enough, said Howson, the gig economy expert.

“To enable (these) enterprises to succeed, we need changes in wider commercial, tax, supply-chain and labor policy settings … (regulation) should favor companies providing maximum social and economic benefits to local communities,” she said over email.

Social entrepreneurs like Benitez agree that the gig economy is not going anywhere, but that using elements of the gig model for good would make it both more sustainable and profitable.

“Success is not just about money. We can make money and capture carbon and create equitable supply chains for farmers … we can do it all, so that the next generation lives in a better place than we do now,” he said.

(Reporting by Kim Harrisberg //news.trust.org)

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