Kenyatta, Shusterman demand protections for gig economy workers in final federal COVID-19 recovery bill

HARRISBURG, March 25 – As a historic $2 trillion COVID-19 financial response legislation package struck a deal in Congress early Wednesday morning, state Reps. Malcolm Kenyatta and Melissa Shusterman today introduced a resolution urging federal lawmakers to ensure unemployment compensation for the nation’s 57 million independent contractors and “gig” economy workers (or app based independent contractors) is included in the final financial aid legislation aimed at helping workers during the coronavirus crisis.

“These employees comprise over a third of the country’s working population and remain among the most critically under-protected workers, with many not qualifying for unemployment benefits. During this pandemic, they were left with the terrible ultimatum of continuing to work to make ends meet or do their part in reducing spreading the virus by staying home. Many have chosen the latter, resulting in loss of income at alarming rates and the prospect of recouping those losses is uncertain,” Kenyatta, D-Phila., said.  “We’re demanding that all independent contractors are protected in any final package.”

Shusterman, D-Chester, concurred with Kenyatta’s assertion saying, “It is important that we help this sector of our work population navigate this crisis with immediate relief and action.”

Kenyatta said that a copy of the resolution would also be sent to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence; U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer; U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and every Pennsylvania congressmember.