Insight With Beth Ruyak

Hosted By Beth Ruyak

Insight creates conversation to build community, exploring issues and events that connect people in our region. Insight covers breaking news and big ideas, music, arts & culture with responsible journalism, civil discussion and diverse voices.

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Working In The On-Demand Economy

John Locher / File / AP

Uber West Coast Regional Manager William Barnes sits in the back of a car during a photo shoot Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Las Vegas.

John Locher / File / AP

The California Labor Commission ruled last week that an Uber driver is, in fact, an employee and not a contract worker. This ruling is being appealed, but if the ruling becomes law it could have implications for a lot more companies than just Uber. The ridesharing company is one of many companies comprising the growing On-Demand Economy, sometimes known as the 1099 Economy –for the tax form contract workers use. This new economy, fueled by Silicon Valley technology and venture capital funds, relies on a sea of people willing to work odd hours for unreliable income without benefits.

A 2013 report by software company Intuit estimates that 60 million people – or 40 percent of the labor pool - will be contract workers by 2020. So, as we head into the on-demand economy, how do we prevent workers from being exploited while creating jobs and fostering innovation? Is the recent Uber ruling a step in the right direction or are regulators applying old rules to new technologies?

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