The Gig Economy

Is the trend toward non-staff employees good for workers?


Enabled by the digital revolution, employers increasingly are outsourcing work to contractors and self-employed or part-time workers, many working off-site thanks to apps and Wi-Fi. Supporters of the so-called gig economy say it gives workers flexibility and freedom to work anytime and anywhere and allows struggling companies to survive and healthy firms to compete globally. But labor unions say outsourcing exploits workers and undermines the economy by allowing companies to replace full-time employees with lower-paid workers without guaranteed hours, income or benefits. And millions of laid-off workers must cobble together multiple jobs as independent contractors. On-demand gig workers, such as Uber drivers, are protesting their lack of benefits, while Uber lobbies local and state governments to exempt it from “old economy” wage and labor laws. ...

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