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‘CY \\A, ment and compliance arm of the IRS shackled, wave after wave of 1099s has come cascading down upon former employees. Lawyers and CPAs alert clients to money-saving possibilities and satisfied customers spread the gospel to new disciples. For more than a decade Congress has been unable to resolve the issue of employee status definitively. Its paraly sis has stemmed from the conflicting claims pressed by various industry associations a debate that has by and large not penetrated popular consciousness. The time has now come for the affected workers to speak up. In Colorado, Governor Roy Romer recently ordered the state’s attorney general to investigate and prosecute employers who “knowingly mischaracterize” employees as independent contractors and the U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit against one employer that used the label of “independent contractor” to avoid overtime pay. Though such action -on behalf of workers by Gov. Bill Clements is unlikely, the Legislature could establish a uniform definition of “employee” that is not subject to manipulation by employers. However, to protect the package of worker benefits that have evolved since the New Deal, Congress will have to act: 1.Congress should establish, for all federal protective social legislation, a uniform definition of “employee” subject to the broadly remedial and humanitarian “economic reality of dependence” test developed by the courts interpreting the Fair Labor Standards Act. 2.Such a definition should include additional categories of so-called statutory employees whose status would not be subject to manipulation by employers. Chief among the vulnerable workers especially in need of such protection are migrant farmworkers. 3.A presumption should be created that all workers but certainly all workers whose hourly earnings are in the vicinity of the minimum wage are employees \(as is already done for example by most state unemployment compensation 4.Congress should repeal Section 530, which creates a safe haven for employers who have treated workers as independent contractors. 5.No employer should be permitted to issue a Form 1099-MISC without prior approval by the IRS. Such approval would be sought by filing the already existing Form SS8 \(“Information for Use in Determining Whether a Worker Is an Employee for Federal Employment Taxes and Income tax WithholdM.L. What Congress Should Do ON LABOR DAY 40 years ago, more than 35 percent of United States workers were involved in unions. This Labor Day, fewer than 20 percent are. In real numbers the unionized workforce has not been diminished as dramatically, but the decline in the proportion of union workers weakens each of the union workers who remain. Only ten years ago nearly three-quarters of a million workers worked for the Bell System, then a virtual monopoly in the communications industry. They were nearly all members of either the Communications Workers of America generally bargained together on a national level and struck nationally when necessary, resulting then in some of the best and most secure jobs of their kind Bill Chandler is an organizer for the Texas State Employees Union based in Austin. in the nation. Today, only two-thirds of that workforce exists and it is threatened constantly by smaller corporations who pay their workers about half what the union members receive from the old Bell companies. Unions and their members are in a state of siege their hard-won gains and their organization are the targets. Corporations, aided by the government, covertly and overtly have displayed increased hostility in union organizing campaigns, contract negotiations and strikes. In 1985, the Board of Regents of Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, decided to “contract out” their food service workers. Most of the 170 workers were members of the Texas State Employees Union “unregulated” status as public workers to employees of ARA Services, Inc., a private sector food service vender, and became “regulated.” Regulated, that is, by the Labor Management Relations Act commonly known as the “TaftHartley” and its federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board, primarily composed of Reagan appointees. Soon after the university sold them to ARA, the food service workers petitioned the NLRB to be allowed a union representation vote that they hoped would lead them to collective bargaining and a union contract. But the NLRB has bowed to every stalling device put forward by ARA. After an energetic campaign by unionists this summer, the NLRB notified the union on the night before the scheduled vote that it would be postponed until September 2. In the meantime, the employer has systematically driven out nearly half of the workforce, including many union activists. Structural changes in the U.S. economy and the composition of the workforce have steadily eroded the power of organized workers. This is not simply a balance-of-trade crisis. Labor’s crisis is posed by the emergence of transnaglobal power. Simply put, a TNC is a multinational monopoly that controls a substantial part of the world market through its internationally organized system of production. There are about 20,000 transnational corporations in the world. Together, they have 100,000 Organize or Perish By Bill Chandler 14 AUGUST 28, 1987