Texas labor groups worried about proposed rules for marketplace contractors


AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Labor groups are concerned a proposed rule by the Texas Workforce Commission will misclassify employees as independent contractors. 

Workers Defense, Texas AFL-CIO, Equal Justice Center and the Central South Carpenters Regional Council held a press conference outside the commission’s offices Wednesday. The proposed rule change would define a marketplace contractor, or contractor, as any individual, corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship or any other entity that enters into an agreement with a marketplace platform to use the internet to provide services to third-party individuals. 

“This has huge implications for the future of work,” Rene Lara with Texas AFL-CIO said. “We already see that the economy is changing very fast. We are not against technology. We just want the workers to not be left behind and not left out in the cold through the use of technology.” 

A spokesperson for the Texas Workforce Commission said members of the public had the opportunity to provide public comments, which commissioners will consider before finalizing their decision in the next few months. Mariana Vega, director of labor market and career information, has determined that there is no significant negative impact upon employment conditions in the state as a result of the rules, according to the proposed rule document posted by the Texas Workforce Commission. 

“This is not a blanket change in how we classify workers,” Director of Communications Lisa Givens said. “This is just a response to the marketplace – what we refer to as a gig economy. This is really meant for information for both contractors and business owners to understand the nature of their relationship.

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