Gig companies launch lobbying group to counter PRO Act push
Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other app-based companies on Tuesday unveiled a new trade association that will push back on Democratic efforts to reclassify gig workers as employees.
The lobbying group, dubbed Flex, kicked off with a seven-figure ad buy in Washington, D.C., that depicted the flexibility gig workers take advantage of and said U.S. ride-hail and delivery drivers work an average of eight hours a week.
“Whether it’s getting around town, shuttling kids to school, or just connecting people with dinner or the groceries they need, our member companies help seamlessly fill gaps in our day-to-day lives,” Flex CEO Kristin Sharp, a former senior staffer for Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), said in a statement. “That’s why it’s so important for Flex to advocate for the everyday heroes driving this economic evolution.”
Flex, whose members include Gopuff, Grubhub, HopSkipDrive and Instacart, will push back on Democrats’ PRO Act, a sweeping pro-labor bill that seeks to reclassify some gig workers as employees rather than contractors, giving them to right to form a union.
The PRO Act passed the House but was blocked by Republicans in the Senate. President Biden called on lawmakers to send the bill to his desk during his State of the Union address last week.
Labor leaders have prioritized backing legislation in Congress and statehouses to stop the spread of the independent contractor model, which they say deprives workers of basic bargaining rights and benefits.
In 2019, California lawmakers passed a law to reclassify many gig workers as employees, but the app companies backed a successful 2020 ballot initiative that exempted their drivers. Flex aims to push back on similar efforts taking place in other states.
“Reclassifying app-based workers as employees rather than independent contractors would jeopardize flexibility, choice, and independence — the main reasons workers say they pursue this work in the first place,” the group wrote on its website. “It could result in fewer earning opportunities and create limits on when and how people can work.”
–Updated 7:10 p.m.
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