This article originally appeared in Insider NJ.
The New Jersey Coalition for Independent Work is pleased to announce that seven additional New Jersey-based chapters of National Action Network (NAN), one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations, have joined their campaign to help elevate the voices and needs of New Jersey’s independent app-based workers.
“We are excited to welcome additional members of the National Action Network to our Coalition,” said Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Steffie Bartley, Sr., a founding member of the coalition and Northeast Regional Director of National Action Network (NAN). “Flexible work has become crucial in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as heightened rates of unemployment have disproportionately affected people of color in communities across our great state. Traditional employment does not provide the security, stability and protection that most people have come to expect, and we must come together to advocate for flexible jobs and enhanced benefits as we begin to recover from this crisis.”
According to a recent survey of New Jersey voters, conducted by Change Research and commissioned by Newark-based non-profit Project Ready, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the financial circumstances of African American and Hispanic voters. The poll revealed that 73% of African Americans and 70% of Hispanics report having endured some sort of financial burden as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as compared to 57% of white voters. Moreover, 67% of African Americans and 61% of Hispanics report that they or someone in their household had their working hours reduced.
The seven New Jersey-based NAN chapters that have joined the Coalition include:
- Greater Newark Chapter
- Irvington Chapter
- Central Jersey/ Neptune Chapter
- Jersey City Chapter
- Monmouth/ Ocean County Chapter
- Passaic and Bergen County Chapter
- South Jersey Chapter
Jamie Bland, President, NAN Passaic and Bergen County Chapter: “App-based worker flexibility is critical as we aim to preserve transportation and delivery equity in our communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our citizens have become increasingly reliant on these services. We must protect the independence of flexible workers, which will allow us to preserve equal access to reliable and affordable transportation and delivery options for those in our communities.”
Sylvia Coleman, President, NAN Central Jersey/Neptune Chapter: “Flexible work has become crucial in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, as heightened rates of unemployment have disproportionately affected people of color in communities like Neptune and across Central Jersey. Protecting worker independence will help ensure that our communities have access to meaningful opportunities, without forfeiting their flexibility during these uncertain times That is why we are proud to support the New Jersey Coalition for Independent Work in their mission to defend worker flexibility.”
Cynthia Dawkins, President, NAN Greater Newark Chapter: “The Greater Newark area has seen first-hand how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the health and well-being of people of color. We must work together to advance an on-demand economy that so many families rely upon for their livelihood. We look forward to doing all we can to support the coalition’s efforts to strengthen workforce protections.”
Dr. October Hudley, President, NAN Irvington Chapter: “The greater Irvington area has been severely impacted by this unprecedented health and economic crisis, and our community is looking for new ways to find stable work to support their families. The New Jersey Coalition for Independent Work is working to ensure individuals have the flexibility to earn a good living in the new, on-demand economy. We look forward to supporting the Coalition’s mission to advance equity through meaningful work and transportation alternatives.”
Samuel Goodman, President, NAN Jersey City Chapter: “Drivers who work with app-based platforms have the freedom to balance their many responsibilities while supporting the economic stability of both their families and communities. The New Jersey Coalition for Independent Work remains dedicated to preserving the power of choice for workers while simultaneously protecting their worker benefits, especially in communities of color regarding when and how they want to work. Our Chapter strongly believes that this advocacy work is vital as we move toward a modern, independent economy and strive to defend the rights and protections of Jersey City workers.”
Felicia Simmons, President, NAN Monmouth/Ocean County Chapter: “As the cost of living rises and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate New Jersey’s economy, people of color in Monmouth and Ocean counties have been disproportionately impacted. NAN’s Monmouth/Ocean County Chapter fully supports the New Jersey Coalition for Independent Work, which is committed to preserving the opportunity for workers to supplement their incomes through flexible work. We must fight for worker freedom and innovative ways for people to supplement their income in our ever-changing economy.”
Steven Young, President, NAN South Jersey Chapter: “Ridesharing and food delivery services have become a lifeline for so many during the COVID-19 crisis, especially in communities of colors and in cities like Atlantic City that have been hit especially hard. The New Jersey Coalition for Independent Work will help promote flexible work options and improve workforce protections, and NAN South Jersey is committed to joining the fight to support these efforts.”
The Coalition is committed to protecting the independence and flexibility of app-based workers while finding solutions to improve their access to benefits and other workforce protections. The Coalition also seeks to expand opportunities for workers across all demographics, ethnicities and backgrounds. Members of the Coalition include community, faith-based, business and tech organizations.
Learn more about the New Jersey Coalition for Independent Work at www.njcoalition4independentwork.com.