A coalition of business groups on Thursday released a letter urging top lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate to not pass legislation that would reclassify workers in the so-called "gig" economy.
At issue is a push to provide traditional labor benefits and collective bargaining rights to workers who provide services for apps like Uber, Lyft and Grubhub. The move would come after California approved similar rules to address workers who the companies argue are independent contractors.
These workers don’t have the same labor protections people in traditional jobs have, like access to employer-based health care, retirement benefits and other guarantees that have become a staple of post-World War II jobs.
Labor unions, including the New York AFL-CIO last year, have endorsed new protections for this class of worker in what's become known as the "gig" or on-demand economy sector.
But business groups, including the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Business Council of New York State and Unshackle Upstate, as well as local chambers of commerce are worried that changing how these workers are classified would have a negative effect on the economy and businesses.
“But by trying to force a new and innovative industry to fit into a decades old employment model will only serve to hurt those who rely on it the most, and will harm small cities and rural areas upstate that have benefited from these new opportunities over the past several years," they wrote in the letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. "As you consider legislation, I urge you to think about a new solution that allows these workers to maintain their independence and ability to work on a flexible schedule while also ensuring that they are afforded basic protections.”