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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Labor abuses spread

Labor Exploitation Update

The number of former Oregonian correspondents pursuing claims against the daily for back benefits has risen to nine from the original two who filed suit in federal court in October (see 'Correspondents Course,' WW, Oct. 25, 2006), and an additional 10 are contemplating claims.

The new claimants make the same allegations as the initial pair, claiming that they performed all the duties of staff reporters but were treated as independent contractors with significantly fewer benefits.
Willamette Week, Murmurs, Dec. 13, 2006

'Correspondents Course'

Two former correspondents for The Oregonian have filed a federal lawsuit against the newspaper, claiming they were wrongly treated as independent contractors rather than employees.

The difference in compensation for reporters classified as contractors and those classified as 'staff reporters' is substantial, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday by longtime correspondents Jeanie Senior and Beth Quinn.

The suit seeks forgone benefits of $236,000 for Senior and $72,000 for Quinn because 'plaintiffs were not offered or allowed to participate in any of the employer-sponsored [benefits] plans The Oregonian offered to its staff reporters.' (Wages aren't a subject of the suit.)

Employers have long tried to save the cost of benefits, withholding taxes and higher salaries by hiring contractors to do work that full-time employees might otherwise perform.

In their lawsuit against The Oregonian, Senior and Quinn make a number of claims in an attempt to establish that they were employees in all but name.

They say they performed substantially the same work as staff reporters and worked full-time 'under The Oregonian's direction and control,' and that the newspaper paid their expenses (contractors typically pay their own).
Willamette Week, Oct. 25, 2006

Read the entire story: here.

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