Something tells me that they are still employees, regardless of what the employer CLAIMS they are, and the National Labor Relations Board, now once again functional, has been investigating numerous "independent contractor" situations which seem a little shady.
There's rather settled law that says if you use the company's supplies, tools and/or equipment you're an employee. The IRS even classified an accountant as an employee because she used a construction company's computer at the company's place of business to do their books.
Even more basic than that, the very first test is always:
"Who determines when you show up for work?"
Independent contractors show up when they feel like it, not only in terms of what time, but even in terms of which day.
Employees show up when they're told to show up. Simple as that in many cases.
"The general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if you, the person for whom the services are performed, have the right to control or direct only the result of the work and NOT the MEANS and METHODS of accomplishing the result."
*That comes directly from the IRS rules.
In my business: (I'm a camera operator and an editor) If they give you a call time...
Yeah, that's pretty much the first test.
With some minor exceptions, almost everyone on a crew who works on shoots has to be on set when the client (producer and director, unit production mgr.)says they do.
Hire a plumber, he will show up Tuesday or maybe Wednesday, some time between 8 AM and noon.
He's definitely a contractor.
A gaffer, art director, DP, editor, soundman, etc will have a 7 AM call Wednesday, and that means they are not contractors.
A truck driver who has to deliver materials within a time frame specified BY the employer, and who suffers a penalty for delivery time errors...sounds like an employee to me, especially if they use a company owned truck OR a company owned trailer.
The men the American public admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. - H. L. Mencken