Posted: December 17, 2015
U.S. Trade Representative Releases 2015 Notorious Markets List
The report “highlights specific physical and online markets around the world that are reported to be engaging in and facilitating substantial copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. This activity harms the American economy by undermining the innovation and intellectual property rights (IPR) of American businesses and their workers. The publication of the Notorious Markets List helps the United States and foreign governments to prioritize IPR enforcement that protects job-supporting innovation and creativity in the United States and around the world.” Read the full report, here.
Posted: December 17, 2015
DPE Attends DOL Future of Work Symposium
Has Uber created a new class of workers that does not fall into either the definition of employee or independent contractor? Why does the Department of Labor (DOL) believe there is a new and rapidly growing class of worker without a proper study of contingent workers? On December 10, DPE Assistant to the President Eric Geist attended the DOL Future of Work Symposium, whose agenda made it clear the DOL believes work has changed from most workers being employees of a company to workers holding many jobs. The DOL did not take a position on whether or not the new on-demand workers are employees.
The one thing that was agreed upon across the panels was the need for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to do a survey to determine the number of contingent workers. The BLS last did the survey in 2005. The DPE has been requesting that the BLS update their survey, but Congress has not put money in the budget to do that study.
While Uber and other app-based companies were used as examples of a new class of workers, some of the presentations applied to professional and technical workers. For instance, are more core functions of a company being outsourced, such as payroll or IT departments? How are workers getting trained for new processes and new equipment? What about benefits coverage for such workers? That is, should there be portable benefits and can a system be developed for workers to access workers comp., retirement savings, unemployment insurance and other “traditional” benefits afforded to full-time employees?
DPE Research Director Jennifer Dorning is active on the AFL-CIO task force studying the on-demand economy (See next blog post).
DPE has long tracked the issues around the on-demand economy, which has its roots in the misclassification of workers, contingent employment, and independent contractors. See the DPE fact sheets on Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors and Professionals in the Contingent Workforce. Contact Jennifer Dorning, 202-638-0320 extension 114, for more information about the AFL-CIO task force and the DPE fact sheets.
One general theme through the day was the need for workers to have a voice in their jobs, whether or not the work is on demand or traditional. In his keynote speech, Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez noted the importance of unions. While there were no specific policy prescriptions, the DOL was very supportive of unions and their value to workers.
See the DOL Future of Work for a recap of the symposium.
Contact DPE Assistant to the President Eric Geist, 202-638-0320 extension 119, for more information on the DOL Future of Work Symposium.
Posted: December 16, 2015
DPE Collaborates with AFL-CIO on On-Demand Worker Task Force
DPE attended the December 4, 2015 meeting of the AFL-CIO’s on-demand task force. At the meeting, DPE emphasized the work it has done on misclassification of workers as independent contractors, including its matrix of resources for workers by state.
On December 9, 2015, the AFL-CIO released its “Statement of Principles on the On-Demand Economy.” The work of the task force will continue beyond the statement of principles to ensure that all workers in the on-demand economy, including professionals have full rights in the workplace.
For more information contact DPE Research Director Jennifer Dorning.