New Possibilities Ahead for Workers Left out of Labor Standards?

Could states be free to adopt expansive collective bargaining for sectors in which companies routinely label their workers independent contractors? 

In Chamber of Commerce v. Seattle, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Seattle’s collective bargaining bill violated antitrust laws. But it also held that the National Labor Relations Act does not preempt state-level action when it comes to establishing collective bargaining for independent contractors. 

Under this decision, a state could, therefore, adopt an expansive collective bargaining law like the one Seattle adopted for workers who have been classified by their employers as independent contractors. 

States could also give additional authority to cities to establish collective bargaining at that level. 

The Portland City Council just approved a resolution that will move the city towards a governing body for transportation network company (TNC) drivers that includes drivers themselves. The body will focus on “transparent collection and use of data, accessibility, wages, public safety, safety and reliability for passengers, equalizing standards across the for-hire sector, and equitable dispute resolution.” 

Look for a bill creating a Domestic Worker Bill of Rights to be introduced in the Seattle City Council on June 21. The bill will include a wage and standards commission of workers – largely women of color – employers and city representatives. 

Find out more about Casa Latina and Working Washington’s campaign here.

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About the Author

Rebecca Smith

Director of Work Structures, National Employment Law Project

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