New York State AFL-CIO to State Legislators – “Don’t Leave App-Based Workers Behind.”

Albany – New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento testified today before the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Labor at a public hearing on Workers in the Gig Economy.

Cilento stressed to lawmakers that it is imperative workers in the gig economy be considered employees and must not be left behind when it comes to worker protections and rights.

“Let me be very clear, any legislation passed must ensure that app-based workers are employees and receive all the same rights and protections as all other employees in this state, including the right to organize,” Cilento said.

“One of the false arguments from app companies is that by classifying workers as employees, workers will lose schedule flexibility. That is simply not true. For example, part-time workers are classified as employees and have flexible schedules. In addition, there is nothing that precludes app companies from continuing the practice of flexible scheduling,” Cilento added.

The New York State AFL-CIO convened a work group of unions concerned about rights for gig economy workers two years ago, and then commissioned a report about the plight of gig workers in New York State. The report was published last spring by the Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations. The federation also coordinated with stakeholders, met with gig workers and plans to propose and advocate for enactment of comprehensive legislation this session that would ensure gig workers are treated equally.

“This has always been about app companies gaming the system to bolster their profits by simultaneously depriving workers of their rights, disadvantaging traditional employers who play by the rules and shifting their responsibility onto the government and ultimately the taxpayer.

“Gig workers perform the same jobs as workers classified as employees, yet do not have the same rights and protections. We will not rest until this injustice is rectified.”


The New York State AFL-CIO is a federation of 3,000 unions, representing 2.5 million members, retirees and their families with one goal; to raise the standard of living and quality of life of all working people. We keep New York State Union Strong by fighting for better wages, better benefits and better working conditions. For more information on the Labor Movement in New York, visit