After California passed a law in 2019 that effectively gave gig workers the legal standing of employees, companies like Uber and Lyft spent some $200 million on a ballot initiative exempting their drivers.
To avoid such threats in other states, the companies have pressed for legislation that classifies drivers as contractors, meaning they are not entitled to protections like a minimum wage and unemployment benefits.
The most serious initiative in this vein, in New York State, has stalled while facing opposition from labor groups as the state’s legislative session winds down this week.
But the effort seems certain to be revived, and the negotiations — in which the companies offered to grant workers bargaining rights and certain benefits but not all the protections of employment — have indicated what an eventual deal could look like in New York and beyond.
Gig companies like Uber and Lyft have long resisted classifying workers as…