- Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren may be in line for a spot on the upcoming Democratic ticket, but either way she's made clear that her objectives include basic labor protections such as the minimum wage, paid time off, and employee bargaining rights. She's also looking to shake up the on-demand economy, according to an article at Inverse.com.
- In a speech last week, Warren laid out her plan for all U.S. workers to receive a basic level of benefits and protections, regardless if they are full-time employees or independent contractors such as those working at Uber, Lyft and other gig economy companies.
- She's not alone in holding that view. The Inverse article notes that it would be more of a "1099 economy,” referring to the tax form many independent contractors need to use in order to be paid. In this model, 1099 workers would be guaranteed minimum wage, paid time off, overtime compensation, and even collective bargaining rights.
In her speech, Warren proposed that all workers should be guaranteed a basic level of protection: catastrophic insurance to kick in after a severe accident or illness, paid leave, and the right to organize.
She also made a strong pitch for so-called portable benefits with regard to healthcare and retirement, an idea that has been much discussed but mostly ignored. It would, she says, create a safety net for U.S. workers regardless of employment status.
The portable benefits idea is getting some traction, as in late 2015 a large coalition of labor and tech leaders released a letter with the same basic idea as Warren on portable benefits. The Inverse article notes that Warren was open ended on that the matter of who pays for those portable benefits and how they would work in reality. Since Warren no doubt has the ear of the Democratic party, she will likely continue to champion this type of solution for 1099 workers and employers.