In the article “The Gig Economy: Exciting Opportunities, Substantial Risk for Food Manufacturers,” Food Dive interviews Trial Team Leader Craig Peters and Attorney Steven Kronenberg on issues with the gig economy, including economic safety, product quality and employee safety.
Peters characterizes the gig economy as a threat to the social safety net built into the economy. “By attempting to reclassify employees to independent contractors, companies undermine the major pillars of the social safety net that was created to provide Social Security and reduce childhood poverty, elderly homelessness, and a host of other social challenges,” said Peters. “The diminished cost of hiring workers as independent contractors will be offset, in many instances, by the inability of companies to control their workforce.”
Kronenberg notes other issues with the gig economy – product quality and employee safety. “Food processing workers usually need training to produce safe and high-quality products,” said Kronenberg. “Hiring more contractors will lead to a lesser-trained workforce. This creates a significant risk of mistakes that lead to costly recalls, and litigation that reduces profit margins and raises insurance premiums. Even if a company can minimize direct costs, there is a serious risk of damage to the brand in the court of public opinion.”