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What They Are Saying: Opposition Grows Against New Biden Policy Threatening Gig Economy, 27 Million American Workers

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, highlighted the growing opposition to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new worker classification rule that dismantles the gig economy and jeopardizes the ability of 27 million Americans to work as independent contractors. This week, Cassidy announced he will introduce a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal the final rule. 

Organizations that have come out in opposition to the regulation include the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the Coalition for Workforce Innovation (CWI), the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), TechNet, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  

Here is what they are saying:  

“I can think of nothing more un-American than for the government to extinguish the freedom of individuals to choose work arrangements that suit their needs and fulfill their ambitions. More than 350,000 truckers choose to work as independent contractors because of the economic opportunity it creates and the flexibility it provides, enabling them to run their own business and choose their own hours and routes. That freedom of choice has been an enormous source of empowerment for women, minorities, and immigrants pursuing the American Dream,” said Chris Spear, President & CEO, American Trucking Associations (ATA). “It's unfortunate that the Administration has chosen to replace a clear and straightforward standard with a tangled mess that weakens our supply chain and undermines the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of truckers across the country.” 

“By undermining the flexible, independent work for millions of Americans, President Joe Biden’s DOL is choosing to move forward with a final rule that creates an ambiguous and difficult-to-interpret standard for determining independent contractor status,” said Ben Brubeck, Vice President of Regulatory, Labor and State Affairs, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). “Regrettably, the confusion and uncertainty resulting from the final rule will cause workers who have long been properly classified as independent contractors in the construction industry to lose opportunities for work.” 

“CWI is very disappointed that the Department of Labor issued a final rule interpreting the economic realities test under the FLSA that both undermines flexible, independent work for millions of Americans and is inconsistent with longstanding judicial interpretations. In the face of thousands of comments raising valid concerns with the proposed rule, including those from CWI, the Department chose to issue a vague interpretation of the test that will create more uncertainty for both independent workers and businesses throughout the economy and will be harmful to independent worker relationships," said Evan Armstrong, Chair, Coalition for Workforce Innovation (CWI). "Additionally, our Coalition continues to strongly believe that the final rule fails to provide an appropriate rationale for overturning the Department’s previous regulation. The Coalition will consider all options to stop this harmful and misguided rule from negatively affecting independent workers, consumers, and the economy.” 

“Today, President Biden and Labor Secretary Julie Su launched a war on working women who depend on independent, flexible work. The entrepreneurial spirit in America is under attack from an administration that seeks to force as many people as possible into traditional unionizable jobs against their wishes,” said Patrice Onwuka, Director of the Center for Economic Opportunity, Independent Women’s Forum (IWF). “Millions of women nationwide choose to be their own boss to balance work with other important priorities such as raising children, caregiving to aging parents and sick spouses, or managing their own health conditions... The flexibility that independent contracting affords is essential to keeping women attached to the labor force. This new rule will nationalize the hardship that California imposed on its independent contractor workforce through Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5). Look for the heart-breaking stories of California freelancers, who lost incomes, livelihoods, and businesses to this wrong-headed policy, to spread nationwide.” 

“The Department of Labor intends to further complicate an already confusing classification process for small business owners,” said Beth Milito, Executive Director of Small Business Legal Center, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). “Changing yet again the standards that determine whether a worker is an independent contractor will result in the confusion and risk of misclassification that the DOL claims it is trying to alleviate. DOL’s multifactor test will lead to more frequent worker misclassification and frivolous lawsuits. This new rule changing the classification standards for independent contractors will damage rather than improve the ability of America’s small businesses to make their businesses as productive as possible.”

“The DOL’s rule will hurt the 58 million gig economy workers who are helping drive our economy forward, especially the millions who choose independent work because they are precluded from working in traditional opportunities due to chronic illness, disabilities, or family responsibilities,” said Linda Moore, President & CEO, TechNet. “At a time when workers seek flexibility, this rule will decrease opportunities for those who earn their living as independent contractors and the companies who partner with them. This will harm their ability to provide for their families and grow their businesses. We urge Congress to take quick action to protect these hard-working Americans and prevent this rule from going into effect.” 

“The Department of Labor’s new regulation redefining when someone is an employee or an independent contractor is clearly biased towards declaring most independent contractors as employees, a move that will decrease flexibility and opportunity and result in lost earning opportunities for millions of Americans. It threatens the flexibility of individuals to work when and how they want and could have significant negative impacts on our economy,” said Marc Freedman, Vice President of Workplace Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Making matters worse, the rule is completely unnecessary, as the Department continues to report success in cracking down on bad actors that are misclassifying workers. The U.S. Chamber will carefully evaluate our options going forward, including litigation.” 


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