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Monday, March 20, 2006

right-tilt fault zone

right-tilt fault zonDelivery Companies Pressured
The state is cracking down on firms that have converted their drivers into contractors.By Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writere


This a from a long article on the state of califfornia cracking down on courier/messenger companies that convert their delivery employees to undependent contractors. I have been and i/c courier driver for three different companies since 2001. before that i was a salaried emplyee for 4 other companies. The difference between being a salaried driver and and I/c is that being an I/C you have absolutely no state benefits such as unemployment or state workmans comp that you pay into. You can , however, pay into social security thru filing your schedule se, as i have done as an I/C . Essentially thr I/C is in many respects a small self-owned business entity and should be seen as such. He /she there fore has to carry all benefits , including making provision for health insurance, private savings plan, accident insurance, ect. The Money that one can make as a self-employed I/C can be greater, in some cases far more than that made as a emplyee driver, particularly if you can wrangle a high commission rate from the company you contract with. As for degree of comtrol exercised by the contracting company, well, they do provide you with constant job assignments via a leased communication device, usually a nextell twp-way pager. Theoetically you cab decline to take the assigned jobs, What happens. you get no jobs, period. As for control of routes , the I/c can determine how to deliver the assigned jobs so does exercise a large degree of control over that. In other ways the I/c has a bit more freedom that your average salaried employee. He cab dress in own garb, go as fast or slow as he wants, take as much or as few assigments on a given day as he wants, .take long lunch breaks ect. The dispatcher can control you only so much because you are operating on your own in your own vehicle. You may go as long as a week and never see the disptch-operational hdqtrs of your contracting company. You can also in many cases elect to take off when you want or leave early or punch in late. Of course dispatch can also decide to give you less jobs , and inferior jobs as payback for taking too much time off, or even decide that they do not want to contract with you anymore. In that sense they do exercise control over you.

This article mentions that Delivery companies have increasing gone the I/c model as way of cutting labor costs, in some cases by 30-40%. This also undercuts competitors with salaried employees. Looks likes thousands (15,000 positivily identified) of drivers incorrectly identified as i/c's. Are you one of those who is classifeid incorrectly as an i/c but arre really an emplyee. And is your company failing to pay to the state back payro;; taxes and workmans comp.

some quotes from the article:

"Enforcement actions to date have identified about 15,000 drivers as being incorrectly classified as independent contractors. Regulators estimate that tens of thousands more could be working illegally as contractors for employers who are failing to pay the state over $100 million in back payroll taxes and workers' compensation premiums. ....
"in October, California insurance fraud investigators, accompanied by Massachusetts State Police officers, served a search warrant on the offices of NICA Inc., a Braintree, Mass., company that provides services for courier firms that convert their drivers to independent contractors. NICA said it does 30% of its business in California. "..............
"The company, which has worked with 400 companies employing 16,000 drivers in 42 states, said its strategy could be good for drivers as well as its clients.Contract drivers, if they hustle and are truly independent, can cover more territory and make more money than hourly workers, argued Tim Bergin, NICA's western region sales director."You can double your income," said Ty Conley, a NICA-affiliated driver in San Bernardino. "I can work for myself and have so much more freedom."

"Last year, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Howard J. Schwab ruled in a class-action lawsuit that FedEx Ground drivers, who are required to buy their own trucks, should be deemed employees because the company has "close to absolute actual control" over them "