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Letter: It’s time to end the exploitation of platform workers

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, supporters of a measure to limit when companies can label workers as independent contractors rally at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Workers across the country have borne the brunt of our nation’s COVID-19 economic fallout for nearly a year. And people who work so-called “gig jobs” for platform companies such as Uber or Door Dash are among the most exposed and vulnerable with very few protections and without a say in the way they do their work. We need to change that.

Uber, Door Dash and other corporate interests like to sell these jobs as flexible and innovative, but in fact they come with few rights and virtually no power. Because workers in these jobs are employees who are often misclassified as independent contractors, they take on the responsibilities of employment without the benefits and protections of being an employee. And with a worldwide pandemic continuing to rage on, those benefits and protections have never been more important.

Unfortunately, under the National Labor Relations Act, independent contractors do not have the right to organize. This means these workers can’t hold corporations accountable should they get sick or injured on the job, nor can they bargain for better pay or safety.

This is why we must pass the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, worker empowerment legislation. It will clarify “gig workers” working for platform companies, shall have bargaining rights.

Working people should have the right to form a union in every sector of the economy. Workers deserve better. Workers deserve the PRO Act.

Jeff Worthington, President of Utah AFL-CIO, Salt Lake City

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