FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Potential Albany Legislation Could Impact Hundreds of Faith-Based Leaders and Representatives Who Rely on Flexible Work to Supplement Their Lives
New York, NY – New York State clergy and faith leaders joined the Flexible Work for New York (FWNY) coalition and sent a letter to the Governor and legislators urging them to protect New Yorkers’ right to choose flexible work that fits their schedules and helps them provide a better life for their families. In the letter, Pastor Elsie Fisher, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, Bishop Calvin Spencer and others write to urge legislators in Albany to listen to faith leaders and members of the clergy across the state to understand how flexible work opportunities support their calling to serve their congregations without sacrificing their ability to support their households, and enables them to better serve communities.
“As leaders in the church and our communities, we lead lives with non-traditional schedules, and often have unpredictable situations arise that need our attention,” wrote faith leaders and clergy members including Pastor Elsie Fisher, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, Bishop Calvin Spencer and more. “This extra money we earn on the side is incredibly important for us. It allows us to support plans like sending our kids to college, or taking trips with our families, but it also helps with the unplanned expenses like doctors visits, home repairs and more.”
In California, a new law is causing massive uncertainty across the state’s economy, already affecting thousands of local businesses and families of flexible workers. As Albany lawmakers attempt to pass legislation mirroring the California law this legislative session, they must consider the unintended consequences. Such a law would threaten the freedom of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who work on the schedule that they choose, and could lead to set shifts, flat wages and limits on the number of people who can earn on these platforms. New York has the opportunity to consider worker protections without jeopardizing worker’s flexibility.
The full letter to lawmakers can be found below:
To Governor Andrew Cuomo and members of the New York State Legislature:
Since last fall, leadership in New York State has been debating the issue of independent contractors who find work opportunities in the gig economy. There have been hearings, articles, and speeches that all raise the question of classification for workers who earn money by finding work through apps and in more traditional flexible industries.
We are writing as representatives and leaders of faith-based communities all across the State, many of whom earn income on the side through the “gig economy” in addition to our traditional duties at church services throughout the week.
There are many reasons why we decided to lead lives of spirituality and dedicate ourselves in service of our community but becoming wealthy was not one of them. As leaders in the church and our communities, we lead lives with non-traditional schedules, and often have unpredictable situations arise that need our attention. We earn a nice living, but also appreciate the opportunity to earn additional money on the side.
In particular, we find the opportunity to find work through apps like Uber and Lyft to be incredibly valuable. People in New York need rides at all hours of the day in every corner of the state, and we are able to work around our often erratic schedules to earn extra money. We can decide when, where, and for how long we want to work without having to worry about if we have to stop suddenly, cancel at the last minute, or decide to drive for a few hours in the afternoon when we suddenly have a clear schedule.
This extra money we earn on the side is incredibly important for us. It allows us to support plans like sending our kids to college, or taking trips with our families, but it also helps with the unplanned expenses like doctors visits, home repairs and more.
As you consider changes to workers who find opportunities through the gig economy, we urge you to consider adding protections but not to do anything that could take away our option for flexible work. We depend on it week to week and month to month, and if that were no longer an option we would lose out on earnings that we need to make ends meet.
Pastor Elsie Fisher
Pastor Frank Bostic
Pastor Bryan Smith
Pastor Marquita Whitehead
Reverend Murray Hollman
Overseer Dr. James A. Lewis
Pastor Duane Thomas
Evangelist Regina McCurry-Hunt
Minister Patricia Malcolm
Bishop Orlando Findlayter
Minister John Williams
Chaplain Nicole Langlaise
Reverend Faithlyn Morrison
Reverend Terry Lee
Reverend Verold Matthew
Bishop Lorenzo Williamson
Pastor James Osa-Kofi
Dr. Allen Martin
Bishop Calvin Spencer
Pastor Carlos Hayne
2017 Census data shows that more than 2.7 million independent contractors work in transportation and warehousing; 2.8 million contractors are in personal services (barbers, beauticians, nail technicians, and hairdressers); 2.1 in administrative and support services (includes call centers, hiring agencies and debt collection agencies); 1.7 million specialty trade contractors; and 1.3 million athletes and performing artists.
Other members of the Flexible Work for New York Coalition include The Business Council of New York State, Tech: NYC, The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, The Capital Region Chamber, Unshackle Upstate, Lyft, Uber, Postmates, the Internet Association, and more.
Flexible Work for New York is a diverse coalition of app-based technology companies, business groups, and civic organizations from across New York State, which is leading the charge to protect workers’ rights to work when, where, and for however long they want. A full list of coalition members can be found at nycoalition4independentwork.com.