The U.S. is still in the beginning phase of reordering the nature of work as it has been structured since the 1930’s. The organization of the future that relies on an integrated blend of part-timers, temporary workers, independent contractors and a far smaller cadre of workers with the indicia of today’s fading “traditional” employee is only now beginning to take shape. This transition will be rocky as the demands of this century clashes with labor laws made for the last.
The private sector unions can see the end of the trail from where they presently sit; facing extinction and not wishing to follow the dinosaurs, they are forming coalitions (“alt-labor”) of kindred NGOs as well as long-time front organizations find a path in the new organizational world. Whether they will be successful remains to be seen.
Fierce battles will be fought in courtrooms across the land over whether or not a worker is an employee or an individual contractor. Here is an excellent briefing by Shirley Jackson, Erik Khoobvarian, Ernest Malaspina and Richard Noack of Hopkins and Carley the most recent cases involving independent contractors and implications for employers using independent contractors. HR Pros will need to stay abreast of these developments to safely navigate these difficult waters.