Refers to the millions of independent contractors who may be misclassified.
The "economy" that runs on independent contractors who have no workplace protections and are organized by mobile apps.
Labor platform companies such as Lyft and Uber pioneered the strategy of using unregulated, independent contractor labor to scale their businesses at a fraction of the cost it would take to hire employees.
Law professor Veena Dubal writes that Uber and Lyft's message of "empowering workers" misrepresents the reality that "individual workers bore all the traditional risks of business-providing their own car, phone, hybrid car insurance, and gas-but had very little control over the business itself."
Business professor Scott Galloway calls ridesharing a "transfer of wealth from drivers to riders":
The “gig economy” is Latin for an erosion in minimum wage protection or the notion that firms should provide benefits to workers. The payoff, according to these firms, and the drivers, is worker flexibility. However, as someone who’s hired hundreds of employees and contractors, the notion that a firm cannot provide flexibility and insurance to employees is simply not true. However, compliance with labor laws sucks, as it’s expensive. Like all of big tech, expensive (non-scaleable) translates to “impossible” for these firms.
California is at the forefront of the fight against the "worker misclassification" that powers the gig economy. In September 2019, the state passed AB5 which Governor Newsom says “will help reduce worker misclassification — workers being wrongly classified as ‘independent contractors’ rather than employees, which erodes basic worker protections like the minimum wage, paid sick days and health insurance benefits.”
Uber and Lyft have vowed to oppose the legislation, arguing that their drivers are not core to their business. 🤔