Legislative Alert – May 20th, 2013

President’s Message
Misclassification of Workers More than Just a Labor Issue

The systematic and blatant misclassification of workers in different job sectors over the years has clearly resulted in unfair treatment of workers.  Abuse of the confusing  state laws and regulations regarding the status of workers as employees or independent contractors has also enabled many employers to avoid their fair share of taxes.  Whether in commercial trucking, taxi service, construction, the professions or many other areas, the misclassification of workers must stop.

Despite the fact that misclassified workers are dependent on the employer for work, take direction from the employer and can effectively be fired and left unemployed, these workers are considered to be independent contractors and are essentially considered as self-employed.  The obvious result is that workers who are misclassified are denied the benefits that other full time workers are entitled to.  This includes the right to union representation, employer provided pension and retirement benefits, health insurance, seniority and other basic labor protections.

But the hidden cost of misclassifying workers goes much deeper.  Employers that abuse the existing law or get away with breaking the law, do not pay unemployment insurance, workers compensation premiums, Social Security and other payroll taxes.

This helps to contribute to the severe deficit in our state’s unemployment trust fund.  This drives up workers’ compensation premiums for law abiding employers that do the right thing.  This deprives the state of revenue.

Investigation and enforcement of independent contractor status and the employee/employer relationship has historically been non-existent and current laws are not clear enough to fix the situation.  The NYS A FL-CIO encourages strong and vigilant action be taken by the legislature to fix our laws, to ensure that workers are not being misclassified

                                      Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action
Monday, May 20, 2013, 1:00 p.m.
100 South Swan Street, Albany
Senator Michael Gianaris will address the Lobbyists.
Issue of the Week
S. 4589 Savino/A. 5237 Wright
NYS Commercial Goods Transportation Industry Fair Play Act

This bill uses existing standards to create a litmus test as to who is and who is not an independent contractor for the commercial trucking industry. The legislation also puts penalties in place for employers who illegally misclassify such workers.

The trucking industry is a critical component of our overall economy and forms the backbone of commerce across the nation and in New York State.   Dedicated and hard working drivers in the commercial trucking industry provide an essential service and their employment status is essential to the well being of all New Yorkers.

Despite the value of these truckers, many employers continue to misclassify commercial truckers as independent contractors to deny them rights and benefits that other employees enjoy.   Not only does this strip these hard working employees of their right to many employer provided benefits,  but it also allows the employer to cheat the state out of appropriate payroll taxes, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation premiums.

Keep an Eye On
WEDNESDAY, MAY 29, 2013– NYS AFL-CIO Nurse Issues Committee Meeting, 1:00 p.m., 100 South Swan Street, Albany.

For further information contact Mike Neidl at 518-436-8516 or by email information@nysaflcio.org