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Congress Must Protect Gig Economy Workers



Whether they deliver groceries, provide dinner, or help out with a ride, gig economy workers have become essential in the modern economy. Millions of Americans happily welcome them and their services into their lives every day. They find these individuals to be helpful, reliable, and efficient. These workers are also independent, self-reliant, and entrepreneurial.

Gig economy workers have been particularly valuable during the pandemic, as stay-at-home orders kept tens of millions across the country from performing their normal activities, not only at their place of employment, but also at restaurants, grocery stores, and shopping malls.

Allowing gig economy workers to maintain their independence and jobs requires them to be protected in the next coronavirus relief package. Fortunately, the provisions of the Helping Gig Economy Workers Act, sponsored by Sens. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), have been included in the HEALS Act, introduced on July 27, 2020 by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). It would allow gig economy workers to obtain financial assistance and protective equipment from platform companies like Uber, Lyft, Grub Hub, Caviar, Instacart, and others, without being responsible for legal liability during the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. As Sen. Braun said, the legislation “will provide a safe harbor for businesses who help the temporary and service workers helping us during COVID-19.”

Sen. Scott’s May 21, 2020 press release described the bill as allowing “digital market place companies to provide, through the duration of the COVID-19 crisis, payments, health benefits, trainings, and PPE to users of the their digital marketplace without it being used as evidence in any federal, state, or local law, ordinance, or regulation for the purposes of determining whether a user is considered an employee or independent contractor or the company is considered a joint employer.”

Since these workers are not employees of these companies, they need this specific and much-needed protection. Without the safe harbor, they would be reclassified nationwide as employees, undermining their business model and likely eliminating their jobs.  

Gig economy workers have made a choice about how and when they work that is far different than the traditional nine-to-five job, where the employer is in control of all aspects of every position in his or her business. They are independent contractors who are free to choose when and how they work or if they want to work at all at a particular time. For instance, a gig economy worker has the flexibility to sleep in, and then work the rest of the day giving rides to strangers or dropping off meals to them. They can request payment at the end of a day, and then go on vacation the next, since they are not obligated to report directly to anyone. This flexibility has attracted millions of people who now work for themselves and has also proven to reduce the cost of business and dramatically increase efficiency. And these jobs have grown during the pandemic, as traditional jobs have been devastated.

For the past several years, as the gig economy model threatens entrenched, and in some cases, monopolistic operations, efforts have been made to interfere with this linchpin of American ingenuity. New York City was among the first to try to craft laws to target these independent contractors.

When Uber became an exciting and competitive alternative to New York City taxicabs in 2014, it offered its users a cost-effective application that provided free-market competition in an historically taxi-reliant city. The influential New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission became unhappy about the competition that offered the same service at a lower price. So, they decided to pursue an all-out assault on this modern convenience. They lost, but in other cities, Uber and Lyft were either banned or stymied by excessive regulations that made it impossible to be competitive.    

The most oppressive law is AB 5, which does not directly prohibit the digital marketplace companies from doing business. Instead, the law, which was enacted in California in 2019, essentially classifies all independent contractors as company employees. This far-reaching law not only affected the thousands of gig economy workers in the state, but also reclassified other more traditional independent contracting jobs like journalists and writers. Of note, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wants to extend AB 5 across the country by having Congress pass a similar law.

That is one of many reasons why the language in the HEALS Act is so important. Protecting and providing relief for gig economy workers will establish support for their independence in sharp contrast to AB 5. It will also assure the American people that these ever-important unsung heroes will be safeguarded from government overreach.

Every American should have the right and opportunity to work however he or she sees fit. The products and services these independent contractors perform offer a good deal for the consumer and the platform providers. The heavy hand of big government does not serve the best interests of the American people. The gig economy safe harbor must remain in any version of COVID-19 relief bill that passes Congress.

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IWGB wins workers status and rights for gig economy couriers at CitySprint




CITYSPRINT couriers’ status as workers with rights was confirmed once and for all today after the company was dragged back to an employment tribunal for the third time.

The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) claimed victory in its battle to gain basic employment rights for five gig-economy workers at the company. 

CitySprint had changed workers’ contracts rather than comply with a previous ruling that they are entitled to holiday pay and the legal minimum wage. 

The company could now be forced to give them thousands of pounds in lieu of the holidays they were denied once its financial liability is established at a final hearing in October.

Claimant Phil Weber said: “This victory over CitySprint shows what strength there is in being part of an active front-line union like the IWGB. I hope it gives others courage. 

“So many ‘gig economy’ courier companies wrongly classify their workforce as self-employed independent contractors. 

“We all know they’re playing the system to deny basic rights like holiday pay and pension contributions, but most workers are afraid to stand up for themselves because, as it is, there’s not enough work to go around and so little job security. We’re left fighting for scraps. 

“But when we are united and fight together, things can turn out very differently.”

The IWGB said it was appalled that it had had to take the company to an employment tribunal three times because the company “was so determined” to deny workers basic protections. 

But yesterday’s victory shows that even when terms of contracts are manipulated, union organising can still win the fight for workers’ rights, the IWGB added. 

General secretary Dr Jason Moyer Lee said: “CitySprint and other ‘gig economy’ companies are making a mockery of the British legal system.  

“If the law were enforced and sanctions were real, CitySprint wouldn’t have dreamed of simply acting like it hadn’t already lost a tribunal claim over its couriers’ workers’ rights. 

“In the absence of the state enforcing the law, the IWGB will continue to hold these cowboy companies to account.”

A separate £43,668.86 holiday pay claim is being made against Royal Mail-owned eCourier on behalf of three couriers transferred from CitySprint.

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Gig-Workers Across CA Protest in Advance of Judge’s Ruling




Gig-Workers Across California Protest on Thursday 8/6 in Advance of Judge’s Ruling

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Gig-Workers Demand That Uber And Lyft Obey AB 5

This Thursday, August 6, gig-workers across the state of California will be participating in actions demanding that Uber and Lyft obey AB 5 and immediately reclassify their workers as employees. Workers will also be demanding that the companies drop their Prop 22 Ballot Initiative (which the company’s have committed to spend $110m on) which would roll back gig-workers’ rights. This statewide day of action comes in advance of a judge’s ruling on the preliminary injunction motion filed by the California Attorney General in the state’s lawsuit against Uber and Lyft, which will come down at 1:30 PM on Thursday.


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In Oakland, drivers from Gig Workers Rising, Rideshare Drivers United & We Drive Progress will be holding a rally titled “Workers Can’t Wait” to demand the employee status they are legally owed under AB 5. Workers will gather at the East Oakland Lyft Hub and, starting at 11:30 AM, various drivers will speak about the grave mistreatment by the companies and demanding that voters vote no on Prop 22.

In Los Angeles, Mobile Workers Alliance and Rideshare Drivers United will host a joint press conference at a Lyft hub. The action is scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a coalition of city attorneys filed an injunction in June to require Uber and Lyft to immediately begin obeying AB 5, which took effect in January. AB 5 requires the companies to reclassify their drivers as employees. Uber and Lyft argue that they shouldn’t be required to follow the law until after voters vote on Prop 22 in November. Becerra argues the harm currently facing drivers is so great that it would be neglectful to wait until the end of the current litigation. The law is clearly on the workers’ side.

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GiG Expands in Buenos Aires with Grupo Slots Alliance




Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) is set for expansion in Argentina after recently signing a head of terms agreement with local gambling company Grupo Slots.

Under the terms of the newly announced agreement, GiG will provide its new partner with a full online gambling turnkey solution that will support its entry in the regulated iGaming market of the City of Buenos Aires.

GiG will supply Grupo Slots with its technical iGaming platform, its sportsbook solution, front-end development, the GiG data platform and GiG Logic. The deal has an initial contract period of four years with an automatic extension for another year.

GiG and Grupo Slots are set to sign a final agreement before the end of this year’s third quarter. The deal is based on a revenue share model and set up fees. Details about the portion of revenue GiG will get from Grupo Slots have not been disclosed.

Grupo Slots is one of Argentina’s leading gaming and entertainment groups. The company boasts more than three decades of experience in the gambling industry. It is headquartered in San Luis and operates more than 20 casino locations, gambling, and bingo halls around its homeland. It also conducts lottery activities and manages the gaming website. In addition, the company operates hotels, dining outlets, and convention centers.

LatAm Expansion

Grupo Slots is among the companies to have expressed interest in obtaining a license to conduct online gambling activities in Buenos Aires as part of the reorganization of the city’s iGaming market. The company will be looking to leverage its popularity and leading position in Argentina’s land-based gambling market as it expands online.

Commenting on their partnership with the operator, GiG CEO Richard Brown said that they “see great potential in the regulated markets within Argentina”, and that they consider it a great opportunity to partner one of the largest land-based operators there and to be thus able to showcase their product in the LatAm region “while delivering the platform for online gambling transformation for Grupo Slots.”

Grupo Slots General Manager Juan Ignacio Torres said that they are extremely pleased to have teamed up with GiG and that this agreement complements them and provides them “a tool of quality and excellence to continue growing in this market with so much future potential.”

The Buenos Aires legislature passed last year legislation that authorized the reorganization of the city’s gambling market to permit online sports betting and casino activities. The move aimed to create a well-regulated environment and curb the proliferation of unregulated offshore gambling.

The Buenos Aires gambling regulator, Loteria de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (LOTBA), launched this past February a license application process for operators interested to conduct online gaming and betting activities within city limits. LOTBA said back then that it anticipated first licenses to be issued by the end of the fourth quarter of the year with regulated website launches following shortly.

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