4 comments to “On the Warpath Against Independent Contractor Schemes”

  1. jerry

    i was an independent contractor for a company called Winnesota, they are based in Minnesota but run warehouses in Madison and Milwaukee. my job was to deliver kitchen supplies to restaurants all over southeast Wisconsin. I started on 01/17/2015, signed a 1 year contract to be an IC . They terminated my contract on 10/30/2015 (we get paid bi monthly) The reason was because I refused to take some stops that were out of the area, not close to my other stops. My contract states I have a right to refuse stops. Also, I was forced to drive their truck at their rate of $786.52 bi monthly for my ford e350 box truck. plus, I had to pay $100 security deposit bi monthly which was for emergencies or to pay off the truck early. It was scheduled to be paid off in July of 2016.. Now this is a 2010 truck, kind of old. So I put all this money into the truck and I don’t get the truck at all. They did mention they would pay me back the security deposit of $100 x 17 payments. so I put all this money into the truck and don’t get anything out of it. I told them I wanted to get my own truck because theyre payments were to high and they said no. Excuse me but aren’t we IC’s? Also had to pay for log books which they never sent me and their insurance too. Their are other IC’s there in Milwaukee and they can back my statements too.
    This is totally a misclassification here. We also had to sort packages in the warehouse and audit them which we did for free. ive never seen a company that forces IC’s to drive their vehicles at their prices and claim that we are IC’s. The company is Winnesota formerly known as Edina Courriers. They are contractors themselves that hire contractors like us to deliver Edward donn supplies (kitchen supplies for restaurants) Any advice would be appreciated, thanks

  2. CJ

    Please do a story about TISA, which promises to turn the world of employment upside down with its cross border data flows and trade based visa low wage high skill employment schemes.

    The use and abuse of H1B visa programs although widespread, has at least in theory, endorsed the idea that wages paid to H1B workers should be some portion of prevailing wages in an industry. However, TISA likely will legalize a new form of global temping that wont even require employees be paid US minimum wages because their pay is between them and their globalized employers. They may even be paid in other countries where wages are completely unknown. Also, numerous US labor regulations – for example, basically everything the US labor movements fought for in the 20th century will likely fall one by one in the name of facilitaing free trade. After all, you cannot tell the low bidder on a contract, entitled as they will be by the WTO GPA to do the job, what kind of employees they must hire at their headquarters in – wherever, say East Africa, since they are likely to be major players in the staffing side of the equation.

    Discriminatory measures if they are allowed to exist will only be permitted to least developed countries, not advanced nations who are assumed to have already dealt with these issues. Suddenly the ladders up for poor working Americans will vanish and they will be framed as pampered high wage workers angry that their low and high skill jobs both are going to “real” poor people (often with MAs and PhDs) who will work for lower than our minimum wage.

    The concept of equal rights for women, minimum wages and non discrimination against minority groups will all become “technical barriers to trade” that must be eliminated.

    Get ready for the race to the bottom. Where did we go wrong? GATS was where this concept was introduced but it was framed as only being for the most skilled workers and left out of the picture by the media. However the quiet use of trade visas, almost totally unrecognized by the US media has been growing. Now industry is salivating at this new “Mode Four” employment option. Its all gradually led to a abandonment of the idea that US companies should or could train and promote their own employees, and instead they want more and cheaper labor from abroad. Nobody wins out in these arrangements except the middlemen.

  3. Doug Baldwin

    Super timing on this story FairWarning.org, following Hilary Clinton’s comments on this topic recently, and then the Republican unified response attacking her for her concerns. All of that has raised the issue of the new independent contractor “gig economy” more into the consciousness of America. Stories like this one are no longer just about holding employers responsible to some regulatory legal standard of an employer-hired worker relationship, but increasingly more about the future soul and spirit of the workplace in the USA.

    Clinton said “This on-demand, or so-called ‘gig economy,’ is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation. But it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.” The Republican counter attack on Clinton focused on alleging she didn’t appreciate business entrepreneurship realities and personal job innovation desires.

    The debate in your story here and in all stories concerning the new “gig economy” and the future of workers in the USA centers over where to draw the line between the need of employers to control their employees and businesses to control their product and methods, and the need of independent contractors to truly be free (aka independent) and independent in regard to their time and work product and tools. And that debate is the beating working heart of the USA. Control is responsibility, freedom is responsibility, and responsibility is all about the money.

    Hilary got it right, and Jeb Bush in his response to her got it wrong. Over and over and over again, stories like this one find that employers abuse the concept of independent contractors by substantially limiting their employment freedoms by imposing “workplace” requirements and duties. Thus, for employers it is not about freedom at all: it is about having their cake and eating it too — saving on worker overhead while maintaining reliable worker control and discipline. And for the worker? Well, not so much cake. For the worker, it is about increasingly limited and unattractive employment choices and the struggle to avoid unemployment.

    Once upon a time the soul of our country was that we were all in this together. We were the melting pot. We were the United. Increasingly, for the standard worker, its all about being on one/s own, alone. Well, not entirely alone. The standard worker will have creditors for company, and anxieties, and two jobs to keep one from dwelling on it too much.

  4. Priscilla Garcia

    Brian,
    Excellent story….glad you were able to work with our Office of Public Affairs to get this very important message to the country!

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