October 22, 2021

Watson Coleman Reintroduces The Gig Is Up Act to Combat Exploitation of Gig Economy Workers

Today, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) reintroduced the Gig Is Up Act, which would provide unprecedented relief for gig workers. The bill would require companies that gross at least $100 million and employ at least 10,000 independent contractors to pay the full cost of both the employer and worker contributions to Social Security and Medicare.

“Companies like Uber are worth billions of dollars, yet they refuse to treat their workers humanely. This is exploitation, pure and simple,” said Watson Coleman. “We’re seeing the start of a new American labor movement, and gig workers are demanding the same level of dignity being called for by traditional employees. I support them in this struggle. I’m proud to reintroduce a bill that would provide gig workers with some financial security and let them work with dignity.”

“For too long, large companies and multinational corporations have taken advantage of workers based on their classification as independent contractors," said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. "Today we say the gig is up! I am proud to join my friend and colleague Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in introducing the Gig is Up Act to ensure that companies prioritize people over profits by paying workers fair compensation and providing the benefits that they have earned."

“For too long billion-dollar companies have profited off the backs of gig workers struggling to make ends meet, especially as many took unprecedented risks to try and do so amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. “We’ve waited long enough for such companies to put people before profits. It’s time to compel them to so that gig workers are given the same opportunity to thrive as any other worker in this country. That’s why I couldn’t be prouder to cosponsor Congresswoman Watson Coleman’s reintroduction of this critical piece of legislation.”

“For more than a year, gig workers have been on the front lines of the pandemic, helping us shop, get takeout, or drive us to where we need to be. But the multibillion dollar companies who pay these workers have gotten away with earning billions of dollars in extra revenue by not classifying them as employees. That is wrong,” said Congressman Mark Pocan. “This bill rectifies this wrong and reclassifies these gig workers to earn their fair share.”

"Gig workers have helped grow small businesses into major companies, yet they are denied basic employee benefits,” said Congressman André Carson. “That's why I cosponsored the Gig is Up Act, to hold these corporations accountable and ensure gig workers have the protections and benefits they have earned. As our workforce and our economy change, we must continue to demand that every hard-working American is given the tools they need to succeed and get ahead."

“It is unfair to saddle workers with their employers‘ tax bill simply because they are classified as gig or contract labor,” said Congressman Raúl Grijalva. “This has become just another way for corporations to evade taxes by forcing workers to foot the bill. It’s time for corporations to pay their fair share, and to provide 1099 workers and their families with needed relief and security.”

Under current law, gig workers must pay both the employer and worker contributions of their Social Security and Medicare, while traditional workers only pay the worker contribution. By requiring large companies to pay both gig workers’ employer and worker contributions, the Gig Is Up Act would incentivize these companies to classify workers as employees, rather than independent contractors. 

Social Security Works, an independent organization focused on protecting the Social Security program and those who receive benefits, has endorsed the bill. 

"Social Security Works is proud to support the Gig is Up Act. This legislation takes much-needed steps to hold corporations accountable for exploiting their workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors,” said Executive Director Alex Lawson. “By requiring these corporations to pay their fair share into Social Security and Medicare, the Gig is Up Act ensures that workers will receive their earned benefits. Thank you Rep. Watson Coleman for fighting for working people!"

The bill was first introduced in 2019  by then-Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01). Haaland now serves as the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. 

The Gig Is Up Act is cosponsored by Reps. Andre Carson (IN-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Raul M. Grijalva (AZ-03), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Jared  Huffman (CA-02), Mark Pocan (WI-02) and Jahana Hayes (CT-05).


You can read the full text of the bill here.