Jan 10, 2017

Upcoming N.Y. bill offers labor compromise for Uber and others

Handy, a New York City-based on-demand service for home services, is pushing for legislation that could create a compromise for contract workers who want employee benefits, according to Bloomberg.

Details: The legislation would allow for companies like itself and Uber to contribute 2.5% of each transaction to fund "portable benefits"—perks like sick leave, which workers can keep independently from their employers.

The upside: This could help alleviate the ongoing tensions between these on-demand companies, and workers and labor advocates.

  • Companies like Uber continue to resist classifying their drivers as employees largely because of the costs of full benefits. This way, workers would still retain the flexibility of being a contract worker, yet get some labor protections.
  • It likely would also allow companies to provide more training and other directives, which has been tricky—too much control over contractors can make for a legal basis for treating them as full employees.

The downside: It would nevertheless require companies to devote a portion of their revenue to these benefits. Ride-hailing and other on-demand services already have rather slim margins, so they'd be forced to either give up some of their revenue, or squeeze it from their workers' cuts.

What's next: New York State Senator Diane Savino plans to introduce the bill this month with the assembly's majority leader. For its part, Handy, which currently faces a lawsuit over its classification of workers as employees, hopes this New York legislation becomes a model for other states and even at the federal level.

Go deeper

Coronavirus stress tests drug industry's dependence on China

A Hong Kong commuter wears a face mask. Photo: Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

It's unclear whether the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus will actually result in prescription drug shortages, but it has undoubtedly highlighted the potential vulnerabilities of having the supply chain for American drugs so dependent on China.

Driving the news: About 150 prescription drugs — including antibiotics, generics and some branded drugs without alternatives — are at risk of shortage if the coronavirus outbreak in China worsens, per two sources familiar with a list of at-risk drugs compiled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Go deeperArrow51 mins ago - Health

Bernie's path to the presidency

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks yesterday during a rally at Houston University. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Lots of Democrats are in full panic that Bernie Sanders will win the nomination and get clobbered in the general election — and bring the party down, too. But the evidence, particularly the polling, doesn't back those doomsday warnings.

Why it matters: Virtually every national and swing state poll shows Sanders tied with or beating President Trump.  And, unlike every rival, he has a huge base of fervent, unshakable supporters he can only grow.

These swing voters don't like Trump’s environmental rollbacks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Swing voters in four battleground states decisively oppose President Trump’s sweeping rollbacks of environmental regulations — but it’s unlikely to sway their votes.

Why it matters: It’s voters living in states like these, including Florida and Pennsylvania, who fill pivotal roles electing America’s presidents, so we should listen.