The proposed narrowing of the definition of employee at the federal level mirrors the so-called “ABC test” that the California Supreme Court embraced last week. (Photo: ALM)

Leading Democrats are proposing a labor law overhaul that could extend collective bargaining rights to huge swaths of the gig economy, the latest sign of gathering blowback for companies committed to maximizing profits by denying workers rights and benefits often associated with regular employment.

On Wednesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, is scheduled to introduce a bill that would make major changes to the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, including making it easier for workers to prove they are employees with the right to unionize and negotiate collectively with management. Organizing rights are among a suite of protections that U.S. laws grant employees, but not independent contractors, who also lack minimum wage, overtime, and anti-harassment protections.

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