The Era of the Gig Economy and Worker Exploitation

For the past 40 years, employment has become less secure and more exploitive on the part of the employer. From temp agencies, to a mass influx of part-time jobs to the now gig economy where many workers are considered independent contractors, workers have been snubbed.

When temporary agencies began in the early 90s, businesses fought hard to stop providing healthcare to their temporary workers and shifted the task over to temp agencies, who charged twice as much for healthcare.

As the years moved on and regulation favored conservative corporations, more companies began limiting benefits to employees and suddenly the 9 to 5 became 8 to 6 with less pay, stagnant wages and no health benefits.

During the beginning of the millennial, companies cut their full time staff down to part time jobs and began hiring more temporary employees so they could save on benefits. During this time companies were sending their jobs overseas by outsourcing, which gave them more power to lower pay here in the United States.

Many states began to pass laws that gave companies the ability to provide "at-will" employment, in which the company can fire an employee without a reason. Other companies started non-compete agreements: "a contract between an employee and an employer in which the employee agrees not to enter into competition with the employer during or after employment. These legal contracts prevent employees from entering into markets or professions considered to be in direct competition with the employer."

As government decreased regulations at the work place, employees found it harder to sue for harassment (sexual or racial), complain about working conditions without retaliation or being fired, or earn rightful workers-comp injury cases.

This all started with a war on labor unions during the presidency of Reagan, who did the bidding of large corporations where policy and law is concerned.

Just last year in 2018, the Supreme Court sided with big corporations under the Right to Work laws disguised as being in favor of the worker but instead ruled that "public-sector labor unions can't force nonmembers to pay fees," when most unions never forced workers to pay a fee. However, this further weakened union's power in corporate America.

When monthly job rates are posted and unemployment looks low or it seems more jobs have been added to the economy, these are the jobs the economist are referring to; part time, temporary and low-wage jobs. American's jobs were outsources years ago, job security is being replaced with temporary jobs, and the gig economy is being exploited by larger corporations who are looking to cash in their stock on the market.

"Recent financial and lobbyist filings suggest that the gig economy giants are hoping to get ahead of a wave of enforcement actions, new legislation, regulatory requirements, and lawsuits that could force these companies to finally and formally classify full-time workers as employees."