Some labor groups involved in the discussions, such as the state AFL-CIO, were lukewarm in their support. John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union, departed from the proposal, citing worries that workers would not be allowed to strike and opposition of the delivery men.
An Uber official who was not authorized to speak publicly said the company was open to changes that would make it easier for more than one union to represent workers in the transportation or delivery industries. A later draft eased strike restrictions during negotiations with companies.
Uber, Lyft and DoorDash said in statements that they remained interested in working with “stakeholders” on the legislation.
But despite all the opposition to the proposal, the episode suggested that some kind of deal is still possible in New York and other states where concert companies or industry groups have explored independent contractor legislation, including Illinois, Massachusetts and Connecticut, all with Democratic-controlled legislatures. . Some of these states have policies that allow drivers to consider themselves employees.
State Sen. Diane J. Savino, who has been a key participant in New York’s legislative efforts, said in an interview Monday that she had recently reached out to a broader set of groups and that the discussion would continue in the coming weeks. “The legislative session may have timed out, but it has not run out on the subject,” he said.
Critically, even many labor groups that scorn the New York proposal have failed to insist on all of the rights and protections of employee status. “Their priorities are to have a living wage, to have the right to organize and to have more safety protections,” said Ms. Guallpa of the Workers Justice Project when asked how important it is that delivery workers are classified as employees. “No one is organizing around that issue.”
If concert companies make more meaningful concessions, such as securing a more independent union, then various labor groups may be ready to take them, giving up employee status in return.