News & Commentary

May 1, 2018

Ross Evans

Ross Evans is a student at Harvard Law School and a member of the Labor and Employment Lab.

In yesterday’s Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court ruling, the California Supreme Court unanimously adopted a more worker-friendly standard for distinguishing between employees and independent contractors.  Specifically, the Court adopted the “ABC” test which “presumptively considers all workers to be employees, and permits workers to be classified as independent contractors only if the hiring business demonstrates that the worker in question satisfies each of three conditions: (a) that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact; and (b) that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and (c) that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.”  Attorney Michael Rubin, who represented the workers in the case, stated that “[t]he result [of the new standard] will be sweeping reclassification of workers throughout the state, including in the gig economy.”  The ABC test has previously been adopted in other jurisdictions such as Massachusetts and New Jersey.

The Union for Research and Teaching Assistants at Columbia University–GWC-UAW Local 2110–ended its week-long strike today.  During the strike, over 1,500 graduate workers marched on the picket lines.  Yesterday, Barnard College alumna and New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon joined the picket line in support for the union.  The Columbia graduate students were striking because the University has refused to bargain with their union.

50,000 teachers in Arizona rallied at the Capitol yesterday as part of the #RedforEd movement.  The teachers are striking for a 20% pay raise.  Many school districts are closed again today as the strike, which began on Thursday of last week, continues for its fourth day.

Meanwhile, in Colorado, State Senator Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs) has pulled his proposed Senate Bill 264, which would have made teacher strikes illegal, punishable by up to six months in jail.  When asked if he would attempt to re-propose the unpopular bill next year, Gardner replied, “If we have a teacher strike, I probably will.”


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