Terri Gerstein Champions Gig Workers and Challenges Uber’s Exemption from Worker Protections

Terri Gerstein (’95), Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, contributed an opinion to CNN Business discussing the danger of Uber and other tech companies’ aim to create a new category of worker outside of “employee” and “independent contractor” and why more robust protections for all workers are more critical than ever (“Gig Companies Want to Change the Rules about Who Qualifies as an Employee. Here’s Why They’re Wrong,” Oct. 14). “What would gig companies jettison, based on Uber’s proposal? The right to a safe workplace, to minimum wage and overtime pay, to unemployment insurance and employer Social Security contributions and also to form a union and to not face retaliation for asserting any of these rights. These protections are more relevant than ever to today’s working people. . . . The ‘gig’ economy isn’t so innovative that it requires rewriting the laws that protect everyone.”