New Orleans Business Alliance Creates Fund for Gig Workers
NEW ORLEANS – As a result of the current and anticipated local economic impact of COVID-19, the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) has set up a dedicated relief fund to meet the needs of gig economy workers who have been directly affected via loss of income.
Gig economy workers in New Orleans include musicians, festival production staff, arena workers, ride-hailing drivers and others. Many of these employees do not have standard benefits including paid sick leave, paid time off, health care or overtime pay.
NOLABA is committing $100,000 to initiate the fund, with the goal of increasing its assets to a minimum of $500,000. The organization is also challenging the New Orleans community to participate by encouraging business leaders, philanthropists and concerned residents to contribute and increase the potential impact of this critical relief effort.
As of 2017, gig economy workers represent more than 8% of the workforce in Orleans Parish, including ride share drivers, musicians, arena workers and festival production staff. As contract employees of often large corporations, gig economy workers tend to lack access to minimum wage, paid sick leave, overtime pay and standard employee benefits, making them particularly susceptible to changes within the economy.
In New Orleans, many of these workers depend on the cultural calendar for reliable income. With the cancellations and postponements of many large local events on the horizon due to coronavirus, this community stands to lose out on millions of dollars of potential income, directly impacting their livelihoods and well-being. The establishment of this relief fund will help ensure that these critical members of the community may continue to be active participants in the New Orleans economy, and rest assured that their families will be taken care of during this difficult time.
“At the Business Alliance, we know that New Orleans’ greatest asset is its people. Therefore, working to address the issues they face, particularly those that impair their economic opportunity and stability, has always been and remains our top priority,” said NOLABA President & CEO Quentin Messer Jr. “We recognize that this fund will only be part of the solution for most families, and will stand alongside Mayor Cantrell and the City Council to aggressively fight for additional resources as the federal response is solidified. To our neighbors throughout New Orleans, we see you, we support you, and we will get through this together.”
“The impact COVID-19 will have on all our people is going to be real, especially those who work in hospitality and in the gig economy,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “I want to thank the New Orleans Business Alliance for recognizing the dependence our gig-workers have on a cultural calendar that has shifted and for stepping up in a real way. I urge all organizations and businesses who can contribute to the relief fund to do so. Now more than ever, we need to stand with and continue to lift up our people any way we can.”
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