Do you lead a free and independent work life? If so, the political class is coming for you.
Exhibit A is an anti-Uber law in California that has the perhaps unintended consequence of attacking workers in a number of gig-economy jobs.
Canada is infested with the same types of politicians who crafted California’s law, so it is worth exploring.
The new law – AB5 – limits whether companies can classify their workers as independent contractors. A report from the Independent Women’s Forum reads, “Supporters of the bill promised that ridesharing drivers would get more pay and benefits because companies would have to abide by state laws and mandates including minimum wages, overtime, workers’ compensation, and paid time off.”
In December, anticipating the law, Vox Media laid off 200 freelance journalists and writers. Perhaps politicians will telephone each of them to explain how much better off they are now. They are replaced by 20 full-time workers.
Vox offered writers the chance to write up to 35 articles a year if they worked for free. That’s a real financial benefit, isn’t it?
Business Insider estimated 7,200 media workers lost jobs by October 2019 while Forbes says, “at least one million workers will be impacted” in California.
The Sacramento Bee said the law is, “a prime example of lawmaking by people who make big salaries and never bother finding out what life is like for the everyday workers who make a living in the gig economy. It offered blanket exemptions to groups with strong lobbying capabilities – doctors, lawyers, real estate agents and the like – and left most of the rest gasping for air, including nurses, musicians, stand-up comedians and interpreters.”
Once again uninformed politicians who claim to be for the little guy – but in reality are often doing the bidding of deep-pocket unions and big taxi companies – screw the little guy.
California is so serious about clamping down on freedom of choice for workers that they have budgeted $20 million to enforce the bill.
Wonolo offers an on-demand marketplace for blue-collar workers. Using an app, they facilitate connections to temporary jobs such as warehouse packers, janitors, delivery drivers, forklift operators, line cooks and event staffers.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports, “Wonolo has primarily hired its workers as independent contractors. AB5 has prompted it to drastically shrink its California operations, essentially ending gig jobs here after the first quarter.”
Who works in the gig economy? Business Insider writes, “Of the 57 million gig workers in 2019, 46% said they chose to freelance because they were “unable to work for a traditional employer due to personal circumstances,” according to an annual study from the gig-work marketplace Upwork. Alisha Grauso, a co-leader of California Freelance Writers United, said freelancers were more likely to be disabled or older.”
That is who the Democrats in California decided to attack under the guise of liberal, condescending, “help.”
In Canada the Canadian Union of Postal Workers went to court trying to enforce their view that Foodora’s couriers are employees, not independent contractors.
Under the previous Liberal government in Ontario a report recommended that classification of employees and contractors become a “priority enforcement issue.”
As freelance writer Karen Klein observed in the Sacramento Bee, “Note to the Legislature: Destroying the livelihoods of contractors is not the same as protecting them.”