With U.S. and state governments taking aim at independent contractor relationships, a new organization is fighting back.
The group, called “It’s My Business,” plans to raise public awareness about the importance of independent contractors. Its members include companies that use independent contractors as well as dozens of independent contractors themselves.
“It’s My Business was launched as a way to get the message out about what’s going on with independent contractors,” said Karen Mellen, a spokesperson for the group.
It seeks to educate the public about the importance of independent contractors. Mellen said many people don’t understand what independent contractors do for the economy, and the mode of working is facing challenges from governments.
Those challenges include legislation in more than two dozen states that would restrict independent contracting relationships as well as federal agencies making it more difficult for users and independent contractors to work together. The U.S. Department of Labor announced in January that it had collected more than $9.5 million in back wages for workers misclassified as independent contractors since September 2011; and the department has been signing memorandums of understanding with states to look into potential misclassification. It's My Business also reported the 2014 federal budget includes $14 million to “combat independent contractor misclassification.”
“We launched this coalition, It’s My Business, to give a voice to the 10.3 million people who have chosen to be their own bosses and build their own businesses,” said former U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), who serves as coalition chairwoman. “Independent contractors are significant drivers of job growth in our economy and too often their impact is not recognized. It is critical that we raise awareness about the vital contributions that independent contractors make to our economy and put a spotlight on the numerous legal and regulatory threats that are making it more difficult for them to earn a living and provide for their families.”
It’s My Business formed on June 4. Some of its members include:
- DIG Insurance
- Customized Logistics and Delivery Association
- Cool Cat Creative
- Bauhaus Art Gallery
- New Jersey Concrete & Aggregate Association
- North Shore Consulting
- Iowa Dental Group
- Wichita Independent Business Association
- FedEx Ground
- Wisconsin Independent Businesses Inc
- Simply Sweet Weddings
- California Small Business Action Committee
- Paling and Sons Trucking
- Peterson Insurance
- Prime Signs
- Seabreeze Transport
- Telebeep Wireless