Biden Labor Nominee’s Defeat is a Win for Gig Workers

Biden Labor Nominee’s Defeat is a Win for Gig Workers

Thanks to three moderate Democrats, the United States Senate dutifully fulfilled its role as a check on the Executive Branch late Wednesday night.

Arizona Senators and — and West Virginia Senator — voted against ’s confirmation to become the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division administrator.

Wiel’s loss isn’t the Senate’s first time thwarting a Biden nominee, but Politico noted this defeat is unusual.

“Failed nomination votes on the floor are practically unheard-of … Nominations without sufficient support are usually pulled beforehand to save the president and his party the embarrassment.”

Every Republican joined Sinema, Kelly and Manchin as the final vote to confirm Wiel’s nomination failed 47-53.

The defeat of Wiel’s nomination is a massive blow to Biden and a substantial win for gig workers and freelancers across America. 

Wiel is currently a professor at Brandeis University and served in the same role that Biden nominated him for — administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division — in the Obama administration from 2014 to 2017. 

Wiel is no friend of gig workers, and he has made that very clear through public statements in recent years. Take, for example, a 2019 op-ed he penned in the Los Angeles Times. He argued that companies such as Uber and Lyft should be made to classify their drivers as employees instead of independent contractors.

As someone who has been both an Uber and Lyft driver at various points over the past few years, I think that what big government bureaucrats like Wiel don’t understand is that freelancing is freedom.

I have previously written about what having the ability to do gig work or freelancing means to me. 

As someone who has worked in politics for the past three years — but has also supplemented my income and developed skills through freelancing — I am glad that gig work is more secure with Wiel’s nomination defeated.

Gig work and freelancing allow me to have a primary job that I am passionate about and take on additional professional and financial opportunities.

Take, for example, a wedding. I got married earlier this year, and my now husband and I were able to incorporate very meaningful elements into the ceremony and splurge in specific categories because we both have sought out additional sources of income outside of our full-time jobs. Something like a wedding (and a honeymoon) are large one-time expenses that come up in life, and outside work allows you to enjoy those once-in-a-lifetime events without them being a massive financial burden.

Currently, I am using additional income that I make to save up for a down payment on a house. Houses aren’t cheap anywhere, but especially not in Northern Virginia, where I reside and plan to make a home for the foreseeable future.

Many have reported on Millennials and Zoomers delaying major life choices due to financial burdens such as student loan debt. If we are so concerned about that as a society (as we should be) — we should not make it more difficult to achieve financial freedom or, at the very least, make big financial decisions easier to cover. 

I couldn’t really be a full-time employee for multiple companies or organizations, so if it weren’t for freelancing and gig work, I would be pigeonholed into a set role and a salary band until I got promoted in my main job.

Freelancing allows me the freedom to live life and build a future on my own terms, so I am grateful that the Senate decided not to let another big government bureaucrat get in the way of independent contractors like myself.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.

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