Collective Bargaining Rights May Shake the Entire Gig Economy
Workers in the gig economy would receive the right to bargain collectively for wages and benefits collectively under latest legislative amendments introduced by Lorena Gonzalez, Assembly Member in California. The proposed legislation in California will offer independent contractors, mainly individuals involved in the gig economy for livelihood, to organize and bargain collectively in the same manner as unionized workers do. Presently acknowledged as “The California 1099 Self-organizing Act”, the Assembly Bill 1727 would offer independent contractors and workers who perform their work via online platforms, for instance, mobile applications, to organize and bargain as a team, boycott or criticize unauthentic business practices, establish communications with the public and customers directly, and report practices, which they believe are violating the law or affecting clients and co-workers adversely. The assembly bill would also offer a collective negotiating relationship for “members” where the workers would merely need ten or more people working on the online platform to announce their wish to negotiate as a team with the organization. The proposed legislation by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez is believed to be the first legislative attempt done on a statewide level in the nation. It will offer collective bargaining rights along with various workplace protections meant for unionized employees to workers in gig economy. The Seattle City Council in December 2015 approved an ordinance, which allowed transportation sector’s independent contractors to organize and negotiate collectively. Recently, a lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to encourage the Seattle ordinance of enforcements and to declare the ordinance in violation of labor law and federal antitrust.
This legislative proposal knocks the door at a time period when companies involved in gig economy are facing numerous class action lawsuits claiming that workers in this economy are also entitled to the same hour and wage benefits as normal employees. Gig companies and their business model of independent contractors are also facing growing scrutiny from state and federal regulators, which includes the Hour Division and Labors Wage Department of the United States.