Touted as the leftist cure to save gig workers from exploitation, in reality, AB5 is simply a job- and freedom-killing monstrosity. AB5 limits the freedom of California’s workers to be independent contractors. Instead, it forces them to be considered salaried employees, which means the employers are also forced to place them under the existing laws for health insurance, retirement, and a myriad of other regulations concerning full-time employees. While AB5 does exempt some specific occupations from its onerous regulations, the state’s over 70,000 independent truckers were not explicitly among those exemptions in the original bill.
These exempt occupations would include, among others, licensed insurance agents, certain licensed health care professionals, registered securities broker-dealers or investment advisers, direct sales salespersons, real estate licensees, commercial fishermen, workers providing licensed barber or cosmetology services, and others performing work under a contract for professional services, with another business entity, or pursuant to a subcontract in the construction industry.
This led the California Trucking Association to take the exemption fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Unfortunately, on June 30, the Supreme Court declined to hear the petition. Now, AB5 forces the state’s more than 70,000 independent truckers to decide if they will lose their freedom by becoming an employee, forever park their rigs, or flee the once-Golden State for other gig-friendly states. Some “protection,” huh?
On cue, power-hungry California bureaucrats called for truckers to snitch on their employers. “Drivers, if you believe that you and other colleagues at the same trucking company are being misclassified as independent contractors,” tweets CA’s leftist Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia-Brower, “you can file a report of labor law violations and request an investigation from our office.” Yeah, that’ll help the supply chain crisis and the economy alright.