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Letter: Workers in gig economy deserve labor protections

There is no question the gig economy is growing across this country and right here in New York State. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has stated that this year, more than 40 percent of New Yorkers will be employed in the gig economy. The governor thinks now is the time to ensure these workers are provided the same rights and protections as other workers and the public agrees.

A recent poll by Siena Research Institute found that 75 percent of those polled support ensuring that workers in the gig economy receive basic employee protections.

According to a report by the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations on the work experiences of gig economy workers, many gig workers raised concerns including unstable earnings, lack of benefits and harassment with nowhere to turn for help.

App companies, meanwhile, are dumping money into ads to convince these workers that the coveted flexibility of their work will go away if they are granted rights and protections other workers enjoy. Don’t buy it. Nowhere in any of the proposals to treat these workers fairly does it trample on the ability of app companies to continue to provide flexible work schedules.

This is about treating an emerging and growing workforce the same as other workers, plain and simple. Let’s get this done this year.

Richard Lipsitz, President

Western New York Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO

Buffalo

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