Regulations

NLA Gets TNC Exemption Squashed From Tax Reform Bill

Martin Romjue
Posted on December 6, 2017
NLA Legislative Committee Co-Chair and BostonCoach / Dav El CEO Scott Solombrino updated  attendees at LCT-NLA Show East about TNC related legislative and public relations efforts on Nov. 5, 2017 at Harrah's Atlantic City (LCT photo)
NLA Legislative Committee Co-Chair and BostonCoach / Dav El CEO Scott Solombrino updated  attendees at LCT-NLA Show East about TNC related legislative and public relations efforts on Nov. 5, 2017 at Harrah's Atlantic City (LCT photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the second time in two weeks, the National Limousine Association and its lobbyists helped ward off a last-minute legislative attempt to exempt transportation network companies from federal labor laws.

The NLA and its lobbying firm Cornerstone Government Affairs were able to prevail upon enough Senators to pull an amendment sponsored by Sen. John Thune, R-SD, that would have exempted the TNCs. The amendment was attached to the federal tax reform bill now being negotiated by a Senate-House Conference Committee.

The amendment would have exempted TNCs such as Uber and Lyft from paying overtime, Medicare, Medicaid, and health-related benefits, thereby enabling them to classify their drivers like independent contractors, said Scott Solombrino, the co-chair of the NLA’s Legislative Committee and CEO of BostonCoach / DavEl.

“We didn’t think it would come back, but it did, so we defeated it a second time,” Solombrino told LCT. The first attempt occurred two weeks ago. “It shows our activism has gotten strong and people sent hundreds of letters.”

The NLA has long maintained Uber, Lyft, and TNCs operate just like conventional ground transportation companies, and therefore should be subject to the same rules governing safety, insurance, labor, and licensing. TNCs violate the Fair Labor Standards Act by misclassifying its drivers as contractors but still treating them like employees, the NLA says.

“Our position is they’ve always been employees and we will continue this fight,” Solombrino said. “The NLA has done a lot in pushing lobbying as hard as we ever have in the history of the association. We’re a tiny industry, but we have a lot of influence because we work very hard to protect the rights of workers.”

The NLA has credited the following Senators with working to pull the amendment over both attempts: Sens. Patty Murry, D-WA, Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, Bob Casey, D-PA, Tom Carper, D-DE, Bernie Sanders, I-VT, Chris Murphy, D-CT, and Jean Shaheen, D-NH.

At the LCT-NLA Show East on Nov. 5, the NLA reported strong results from its public relations campaign, led by the New York-based firm Evins, in shifting the media to more accurate and critical coverage of TNCs. Negative stories now balance out what were overwhelmingly positive ones in previous years. The trade group renewed its annual contract with Evins and approved its 2018 budget during its quarterly board of directors meeting on Dec. 4 in Napa, CA.

As part of public relations efforts, the NLA is planning to release later this month a second public service announcement alerting the riding public to TNC safety problems. This PSA also will feature actress Pamela Anderson.

The NLA will announce the results of its annual board director elections after the last day of member voting on Friday, Dec. 15.

Related Topics: Cornerstone Government Affairs, federal regulations, labor laws, legislation, lobbying, National Limousine Association, NLA, public relations, Scott Solombrino, TNCs, Uber

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 2 )
  • Gustavo chacon

     | about 7 days ago

    Good Job ! Let's Hope All FLA members do not Become TNE or TNC as They are Call in FLA ? Many NLA Members Also have TNC , so They could play The Two Side of The Streets , Very convenient ? and The Farm in are been handle by TNC ? 18 TNC in Miami Alone >

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