Worker stories - Rights and Democracy VT

Worker Misclassificaiton - share your story

Right now in Vermont tens of thousands of workers are being denied basic on-the-job protections and paycheck benefits.  

This is because of an issue unfamiliar to many, called “worker misclassification.” This happens when a business owner classifies their workers as “independent contractors” instead of “employees” (aka filling out a 1099 instead of a w4), in order to avoid paying for unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, Social Security, overtime pay and other protections won through a century of struggle by the labor movement.

Many workers do not have the bargaining power to refuse independent contractor status if that is what is offered, or are not told until it’s too late that they are not really an “employee.” This poses risks to workers, especially in the building trades, hurts businesses who are doing the right thing and find it harder to compete, and limits the ability of our state to fund critical infrastructure and social programs.

Do you have a story around this issue, or know someone who does?  Share it here so we can help educate the public and your legislators!

  • Nancy Crompton
    commented 2017-04-07 09:14:09 -0400
    Book Composition Company in Brattleboro—Over a decade ago, a book composition company in Brattleboro (last one remaining from at least seven composition houses that had operated at some time over the previous 50 years), had some slow months and decided to layoff employees, and yet at the same time employ them as skilled, independent contractors. Of course, I reported all income earned from working with the company to unemployment services, and I did interview and seek other jobs, but the company in the end came under investigation for this odd and illegal arrangement, where it shed many of its expensive responsibilities and yet retained the skilled services of its former employees. Clearly I was paid less as an independent contractor; I was stunned to learn how expensive health insurance for a freelancer would be, and I went without health insurance until the ACA made it affordable; and since the company was eventually bought by an Indian company (cheaper labor costs for same quality of book composition), I’ve been a freelancer for a decade now, with diminishing income and rising costs of living. I thought I would be able to hold that job until I retired, and my skills have only increased and become more valuable over time, but the low wages of overseas workers are an irresistible attraction for profit-conscious corporations.
  • Nancy Crompton
    commented 2017-04-07 09:05:04 -0400
    Book Composition Company in Brattleboro


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