Terri Gerstein Urges Careful Consideration of Washington House Bill 2076 on Gig Workers’ Rights

Terri Gerstein (’95), Director of the State and Local Enforcement Project at the Harvard Law School Labor and Worklife Program, contributed an article to The American Prospect examining the broader impact of Washington HB 2076, recently signed (partially vetoed) legislation securing a minimum pay standard and allowing the formation of a worker organization for gig drivers, while also exempting transportation network company employers from worker protections (“Is Washington State About to Deprive Its Gig Drivers of Basic Rights?” Mar. 2). “[I]t would … exempt Uber and Lyft from many important laws that virtually every other employer in the state must follow by flat out enshrining the misclassification of these workers as independent contractors rather than employees. . . . Passage of HB 2076 could also set the stage for other industries to seek similar carve-outs, and could adversely affect the landscape of workers’ rights nationwide. . . . Across the nation, gig workers have been taking on, and sometimes winning, battles against their misclassification as independent contractors. . . . Could a hasty law in Washington damage these efforts and undermine gains, ultimately serving as a replicable national model for reducing or eliminating hard-won rights that have existed since the New Deal?”