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Oregon AFL-CIO Supports BOLI Advisory Opinion on Employment Status of Uber Drivers

PORTLAND, OR – The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) released an Advisory Opinion today that finds Uber drivers are employees, rather than independent contractors, under Oregon’s labor laws. The Oregon AFL-CIO supports BOLI’s opinion on this important issue, the findings of which may impact the growing practice of mislabeling workers as independent contractors in numerous industries. Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain has issued the following statement in response to BOLI’s announcement:

“Today’s Advisory Opinion by BOLI is a step in the right direction for working people in Oregon, and beyond. The use of the Oregon economic realities test in BOLI’s Advisory Opinion makes it very clear that drivers working for Uber should be categorized as employees, and therefore should have access to state and federal worker protections, like the basic right to be paid on time, to receive workers’ compensation benefits, and the ability to collectively negotiate to improve their conditions under the National Labor Relations Act.”

“We support BOLI’s Advisory Opinion, and similar decisions that we have seen come out of California, because they have the potential to help stop the erosion of the relationship between an employer and their employees. Too often, working people are labeled as independent contractors so that employers can avoid paying for things like employment taxes just to get an upper hand on competition and maximize their profits. That upper hand and profit maximization is coming at a high cost: working people are losing their rights on the job, and it is becoming an alarming trend throughout the country. By next year, the richest 1% will own more than the rest of us combined. Our economy is stratified and widespread misclassification of workers is only going to push the gap between the rich and the poor further and further apart. That’s why the Oregon AFL-CIO will continue to oppose any effort to keep workers from receiving their rights as employees for the sake of corporate profits.”

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