Uber funds new lobbying group to deny rights for gig workers

Flex seeks to defend gig companies’ business models amid push to pass laws that would defend workers’ right to unionize and strike

Flex seeks to defend the business models of these companies, which use workers labeled as independent contractors, amid a renewed push in Washington to pass labor laws that would defend those workers’ right to unionize and strike. Joe Biden made a renewed call in his State of the Union address for the passage of the Pro Act, which would expand the federal definition of employees to include many gig workers.

Flex’s website takes a veiled shot at the legislation: “Policymakers want to implement a one-size-fits-all employment model for all workers, regardless of their needs or desires,” it claims, under the headline “Independence Works”.

It shows pictures of smiling college students, parents and teachers alongside apparent testimonials from people without surnames. “Let’s say I want to work a few hours outside of my regular job to save for my kid’s college. I can do that,” says one Ricardo P.

“Independence works, ’cause I’m the boss around here,” says Ian W, handily repeating Flex’s tagline verbatim.

But workers and labor advocates are already pushing back against Flex’s narrative. Nicole Moore, a Los Angeles-based rideshare driver, told the Guardian that gig economy apps are designed to control workers who usually don’t have the means to say no.

Read more