App-based workers fight for flexibility

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Employees for app-based companies like Uber and Lyft spoke with New York lawmakers about keeping flexibility in their industry.

Drivers from companies like Postmates and Lyft say flexible hours is often what drove them to the job.

“Lyft did that, because otherwise, there’s no way that I could take care of my daughter and pursue a career in professional wrestling without that,” Lyft driver Josh McFee said.

But some gig workers fear New York could put more regulations on the books.

“There is a desire for workers to have protections, but I think that that is trumped by the desire to maintain their flexibility,” Christina Fisher with Flexible Work for New York Coalition said. “That is their number one priority for them is to be able to work when, where, and how they want, start and stop when they want, work for multiple platforms if they need to.”

In the state of California, a new law ‘AB5’ recently went into effect that re-classifies some independent contractors as employees. Supporters say it is aimed to give app-based workers and other freelancers more rights like a minimum wage, unemployment insurance and paid sick leave.

In New York, a proposal is being explored to look into dependent workers as well.

The Flexible Work for New York Coalition says if a similar law like California’s is adopted, there could be affects on the consumer as well.

“I’m not going to continue to do this work once it becomes an obligation because I’m now an employee,” Chris Pratt with Postmates said.

“We’ll see a rise in costs and a loss of jobs as a result,” Fisher said.

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