Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain released the following statement in response to HB 3023 and a groundbreaking report about the future of the gig economy:
“HB 3023 is an attempt by Transportation Network Companies to operate in our communities without accountability, taking away power from local jurisdictions to regulate companies like Uber and Lyft. State legislators should be fighting for the rights of workers by opposing this bill and resisting attempts by global tech giants to undermine workers’ voice in this industry and in their lives.
Our state is facing record levels of income inequality while Uber is valued at over $120 billion and Lyft is valued at nearly $30 billion, with both preparing for an IPO this year. Since TNCs first launched in Oregon, the Oregon AFL-CIO, alongside worker and consumer advocates, have consistently raised concerns about a business model centered on misclassifying drivers as independent contractors at the expense of their workers and our communities.
The National Employment Law Project just released an important report entitled ‘Rights at Risk: Gig Companies’ Campaign to Upend Employment as We Know It.’ It highlights the intricate relationship between technology companies and Big Finance, and their incredibly troubling “endgame” goals: 1) enshrining tax breaks and forestalling legal challenges to the gig business model; 2) limiting worker-led organizing and policy efforts to improve gig jobs; and 3) reshaping the future of labor regulation.
State lawmakers should not even be considering policies like HB 3023 or any effort to further erode the ways local jurisdictions might help workers and marginalized communities ensure that this industry works for them, too. Instead, we should be looking for ways to strengthen worker protections, simplify and streamline the process to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor, and ensure that local transportation systems can meet the unique needs of their communities.
We appreciate those lawmakers who continue to stand with Oregon’s workers by opposing the tech industry’s HB 3023 and we encourage all to take a hard look at the enclosed report and the real motive of these types of corporations in the policy arena.”