Why would North Carolina’s famously right wing legislature ever pass a bill increasing worker protections?
To troll the media, of course.
After the Charlotte Observer and sister paper the Raleigh News & Observer (both despised by the legislature) published an investigation on the misclassification of construction workers, the GOP-controlled State Senate — after pointing out the typical media dissonance between its advocacy journalism and own corporate practices — passed legislation requiring newspapers to classify newspaper carriers as staff employees with benefits.
“We appreciate our state’s news media for shedding light on the far-too-common practice of employee misclassification in North Carolina,” said Trudy Wade, a NC Republican, in a statement. “Surely the same industry that brought the problem to our attention will recognize this inconsistency between what they report and editorialize on and what they practice, and support this important reform to protect their own hard workers.”
To actually become law, the bill must also pass the (also staunchly conservative) State House, where it’s failed before.
According to the News & Observer, state senators say the paperboy bill will close a loophole used by newspapers. The bill only applies to “carriers,” the people that deliver print newspapers.
The bill, if it becomes law, would be costly to the state’s struggling newspapers who, like most employers, are loath to add to their staff rolls.
Naturally, the North Carolina Press Association opposes the new regulation, saying that most newspaper carriers don’t do it full time, but usually as a second or third job.
If the bill becomes law, newspapers will have to pay workers’ comp, unemployment, and payroll tax payments for employees working only a few hours a day.
This is truly a blessed time for the state’s paperboys.