Sunday, January 26, 2020

AB5: See the stories of independent contractor lives shattered by the CA law

The harm of AB5 on independent contractors is not an abstraction or a political football. One of the largest grassroots Facebook groups where discussion about the impact of the law is Freelancers Against AB5 -- a clearinghouse of education, information, and strategy for citizen activism of the self-employed harmed by the law. Moderator Karen Anderson took it upon herself to gather these emotion-filled stories of shattered careers - now up to 113 professions -- adversely affected by the law and place them into an accessible database:
Hello Members. Here is our archives of personal stories documenting the negative impacts of AB5 categorized by profession. This is a continuing work in progress that I can add to or edit at anytime, so keep your stories coming! There are 113 categories of professions thus far that comprise hundreds of stories from our members. (Photographers, I need your stories.) Please share on social media and be sure to send this link to your representatives in the state legislature on Facebook, Twitter and email.
AB5 harms hundreds of thousands of independent contractors that rely on freedom to determine their rates of pay, when and how they work. When AB5 was debated, select professions were invited to petition, er, beg for exemptions, while others with the same functional business needs were not. That in itself is discriminatory. Now we see independent contractors’ careers halted in their tracks. Notably, even clients of professions exempted from the law are bailing, canceling contracts because of the legal uncertainty and potential liabilities.

SB459 has been on the books since 2012 and it already addresses misclassification in fields where it is rampantly abusive. I do not understand why AB5 was necessary to implement in such a damaging way to so many segments of the economy. AB5 at the very least should be amended to include an exemption for performing artists and no limited number of articles for writers or exemption for small business; however, in the larger scheme of things, I have come to believe only full repeal is a solution. We cannot be patient for months for a fix or to find a way to “adjust” when all of these taxpayers all have bills and must keep a roof over their heads.

NOTE: There is a rally and citizen lobby day at the Capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday, January 28 at 10 AM, sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley and Melissa Melendez, both Republicans, btw, though this is not a partisan issue.

Since shuttering my national progressive political blog, Pam's House Blend, back in 2013, AB5 is the first topic to re-activate me because it runs at the foundation of what I have done as a working professional -- I've been a small business owner, an employee of a large company, and a freelance reporter and project manager as an independent contractor. I’m a Democrat from North Carolina that moved to CA in 2017. Little did I realize that too many lawmakers here have taken leave of their senses, only proving a supermajority of either party can result in bad lawmaking and a heavy hand. The Democrats at the state and national level need to understand this is no way to handle labor in an economy so diverse and evolving in its make up. A sledgehammer approach is not healthy or resembles anything remotely like common sense.

As my blogosphere colleague Markos Moulitsas at Daily Kos (no Red State or Town Hall, btw) made clear in his post, "Democrats across the country seek to make California's mistake, destroying careers of freelancers," legislation impacting people’s ability to live should never be made in an arbitrary manner as AB5 was, and current DNC Chair Tom Perez, when he was Barack Obama’s labor secretary, aggressively fined bad actors under existing fed law.


How to find your lawmaker to write/call:

How they voted (and see how much money they received from Big Labor):
Sen Vote:
Assm Vote:

Just a reminder, folks. There is a federal labor bill that underscores the very ABC test that is decimating independent contractors here at the state level with AB5. It's H.R. 2474, and take a look and see who is co-sponsoring this bill. 

Side note: Today I received a campaign call for my Congressman, Jim Costa, and said that I would not support his re-election if he supported HR 2474 as it stands affecting independent contractors. The polite caller took my information because at this juncture, he's not a co-sponsor.
So be ready to make your case now that the campaign calls are heating up.

How to find your lawmaker in DC to write/call about this legislation:

Good reads...  

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