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Can Workers Get a Fair Deal in the Gig Economy?


Can Workers Get a Fair Deal in the Gig Economy?

Steven Hill

More and more businesses are exploiting what is known as the “1099 worker loophole”—hiring workers as “independent contractors” instead of as regularly employed workers. In some cases, companies have laid off all or most of their regular workers and then hired them back, but as independent contractors.


From the article:

"And it’s not just Merck. Arizona public-relations firm LP&G fired 88 percent of its staff and then rehired them as freelancers working out of their homes, with no benefits. And Out magazine, the most-read gay monthly in the U.S., laid off its entire editorial staff and then rehired most of them as freelancers, with lower salaries and no benefits."

This is what I experienced back in 1995 when I went from making $2000 a month (writing) to making $600. I never made up the difference since the trends of both consolidation of media & free content available on-line shifted the calculus.

Now that I am semi-retired, if I had savings, banks would be paying virtually no interest on it; and so I invested in some small properties and in my area, the recession hit hard and these properties were also divested of value virtually overnight.

The result of being an underpaid "independent contract worker" is a pittance in Social Security. Granted, some money coming in is better than no money coming in, but what hits me is that the 3 areas of expected security have ALL been down-sized.

I notice that older women are on their feet all day at Wal-mart or other jobs and I am grateful to not own that fate... but there's no question that working people (and that includes those of us who are semi-retired) have all costs (apart from gas) increasing while all sources of income are being reduced or flat-lined.

The younger generations experiencing the direct impact of no good jobs, college debt, and climate catastrophes that will surely escalate have massive challenges of their own to cope with.

And all of these outcomes are based on the cold calculating political advantages capitalized upon by the few who already had MORE than a fair share and work behind the scenes to claim more... while leaving so many in misery, wars, poverty, and despair.