Silicon Valley’s contract labor has become a hot political topic, as a slew of potential Democratic presidential candidates sponsor legislation that could force companies to negotiate with more workers they claim not to employ. In California, Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, and a half-dozen other companies are lobbying to defang a court ruling that could make it difficult to avoid reclassifying such workers as employees. And in Washington, the Republican-dominated National Labor Relations Board has made moves to undo an Obama-era precedent that could make big employers legally liable for contract workers even if they have only indirect control over them.

Philippe Boucher rides a public-transit bus on Feb. 10, 2015, on the way to work as a French translator at a company that contracts services to Microsoft. He’s part of a movement of temporary workers trying to gain better benefits and working conditions.
Photographer: John Lok/Getty Images