WASHINGTON, Jan. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Teamsters strongly oppose a new U.S. Department of Labor rule released today that would change the interpretation of employee status under the Fair Labor Values Act (FLSA) to make it easier for companies to classify their workers as independent contractors and therefore, not be covered by federal minimum wage and overtime laws. The union is asking the incoming Biden administration to not allow the rule to take effect.
As it stands, companies across the country have sought loopholes and workarounds to misclassify workers as independent contractors, which denies them proper wages and job protections as well as access to unemployment benefits. Teamsters have been aggressively pushing back on this issue for years at the ports, and especially during the pandemic where misclassified truck drivers are denied proper protective gear and workplace safety measures in addition to fair wages and benefits. There is already a growing anti-worker issue that will be exacerbated if these regulations are enforced.
In comments filed by the Teamsters in October, the union stated that the new rule "unconscionably curtails the reach of the FLSA—increasing the number of workers who are denied its statutory protections—during one of the most economically fraught times in our country's history." Moving forward with its implementation would squarely conflict with the FLSA's intent and precedent, it argued.
That said, the Teamsters are confident that President-elect Joe Biden will not allow this rule to take effect, given that it is not slated to be implemented until after he is sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Jan. 20.
"Joe Biden is a friend of workers as he has said on the campaign trail and proven with his public service," Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. "I have no doubt that he will postpone the implementation of this despicable rule so hardworking Americans can earn a fair wage and support their families."
The Teamsters will continue working closely with the incoming Biden administration team to ensure the issues raised in the union's comments are adequately addressed once they take office later this month.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.