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Maybe if they treated their drivers halfway decently, they'd have got away with it.

They probably would. The second half of that story talked about Patagonia, where employees are treated like human beings and work hard to keep those jobs.

It looks like Greehouse's book will be pretty good. I'm still getting through David Cay Johnston's Free Lunch. So depressing. That combined with Shock Doctrine is enough to send one looking for a high roof.

OT: This blog is so much better with you posting on it.

I worked with a state tax auditor once. He told me he had never seen an independent contrator set up that was legal under Minnesota law.

Rob: That DCJ book is the one that came out in December? Haven't seen it yet but he told me about it when he was working on it and it sounded just as depressing as you suggest. Stuff we need to know, tho.

Mark: I'm sure there are but they generally don't go by that name. In Mass they call themselves "self-employed" or "independent operators" in the case of gypsy drivers with their own rigs. Every time a business hires an outside company for maintenance or groundskeeping or payroll and accounting, those are technically IC's. It's just they don't use the designation.

The term is reserved for corporations who try to use the IC dodge to get out of their responsibilities, and since most state laws - at least all the ones I know of - define IC's so tightly that they can't do it without breaking those laws, I'm not surprised by your tax auditor's comment.

I should probably have made it clearer that if Elaine Chao's Labor Dept had done what every other Labor Dept since Roosevelt would have done and joined the suit, at least to the extent of filing an amicus (friend of the court) brief explaining the illegality of the FedEx position and stating their (legal) opinion that it should be stopped, the court might very well have issued an injunction against the corpo's continued use of the scam, at least until the appeal was decided.

But they didn't, which means FedEx can go right on stealing $$4MIL$$ a year from its employees while their suit wends its way through the system - a snail-like progression FedEx can string out for 6 or 7 yrs and still pay far less in legal retainers than it will save by keeping the scam going for as long as possible.

Injunctions are meant precisely to keep miscreants from profiting after they've been caught, but unfortunately Labor is the only authority a court would be liable to accept when asked to stop a major corpo from a questionable practice (even tho it has been convicted in one state and been hammered by the IRS). Without their participation and support - and Elaine will NEVER go against a corpo - that isn't going to happen.

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