“This ‘on demand’ or so-called ‘gig’ economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation, but it’s also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.”
Earlier yesterday (July 14, 2015), Hillary Clinton gave a speech at New York City’s New School where she specifically called out the labor practices of those who contract workers under the umbrella term “gig economy.” Clinton argued that this growing economy signals a shift in how millennials are participating in the workforce. The growing gig economy, by some estimates, comprises 30 percent of the workforce (individuals who participate in contract work in one way or another.) This large population of workers, while paid wages, don’t benefit from such regular benefits like health insurance or stock options from the company. In California alone, Uber contracts with close to 45,000 drivers with a good number of those drivers living off earnings solely from their driving endeavors. Hillary Clinton wasn’t attacking “gig economy” companies to force them to start paying health insurance and other benefits, she was simply raising a question which should at least be taken a good hard look at.
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The larger media is trying to paint Hillary Clinton as not understanding the tech industry, but on the contrary she understands what’s going on quite well. Clinton understands that services like Etsy, Uber and Airbnb are adding important services to the economy. All Clinton is trying to close are the loopholes these companies are exploiting in order to avoid paying their employees more than they actually should. In contrast, all Jeb Bush ever offered to young millennials in his latest speech was to “work longer hours” to cover any unforeseen expenses. Hardly the rhetoric we’d like to hear.
So don’t be disheartened by Hillary Clinton Uber drivers out there. She actually has your back. She wants your company to answer to the large amounts of benefits that, although you’re classified as a contractor, you should be entitled to somehow. It’s a broken system that needs serious mending.