WASHINGTON, D.C. — Small business owners and freelancers Karen Anderson, Gabriella Hoffman, and Jennifer O’Connell will share on Wednesday their concerns about the undue burdens placed on freelancers and independent contractors at an open forum hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor. Both O’Connell and Anderson are storytellers at Independent Women’s Forum (IWF).

The open forum, titled “Worker Open Forum,” will be hosted online and will take place on June 29, 2022 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. EDT. The goal of the event is to “hear diverse perspectives from those who may be affected by employee or independent contractor classification.” Hoffman’s, O’Connell’s, and Anderson’s statements will address why federal labor policies modeled after California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which redefined and severely limited independent contractors, would hurt small-business owners, many of whom are women seeking flexible work. 

“More than two years have passed since California’s disastrous Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) first went into effect, and it’s been nothing short of catastrophic for hundreds of thousands of independent contractors put out of business permanently across a vast swath of professions – everything from community theater productions, independent filmmaking crews and professional dance studios, to freelance transcribers, certified massage therapists, sign-language interpreters, court reporters, and many more,” said Karen Anderson, IWF storyteller and founder of Freelancers Against AB5 . 

She added, “Now the US Department of Labor wants to bring California’s AB5 chaos to the entire nation, trying to make it difficult for self-employed entrepreneurs to legally work as independent contractors.”

Gabriella Hoffman, an independent contractor and IWF senior fellow, said, “I’m a freelance media strategist and journalist who’s been self-employed since Summer 2016. Since choosing this work arrangement, I’ve been wholly empowered as a worker to make decisions for myself. I’ve enjoyed the flexibility associated with this lifestyle. Moreover, I’ve been more prosperous and successful than I was in a 9-to-5 job.”

“If the IC rule is rewritten to make independent workers like me employees, it’ll have ruinous effects on my business. Flexible work arrangements are positively reshaping the economy. I hope DOL reconsiders its efforts to rewrite the Trump IC rule.”

According to Jennifer O’Connell, a writer, reinvention coach, Yoga instructor, and IWF storyteller, “The PRO Act wants to rob me of not only my autonomy and my intellectual property, but it wants to enslave me into a system that does not work for all people. This administration’s attempt at robbing me of not only my freedom of choice, but assuming it knows what is best for me as a Black woman, is not only paternalistic, but it’s inherently racist.”

IWF has been telling stories of freelancers and independent contractors affected by AB5 over the last year. Read their stories and share your story on how AB5 has impacted you HERE.

To watch the hearing, register online at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/worker-open-forum-registration-356311426067



Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) aims to educate the public about how government policies impact people’s opportunities for economic development and upward mobility.