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Sen. Shannon Grove. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

California Democrats Again Kill Fix to AB5

Freelancers are mad we are ‘taking away the lollipop they had to work when they want’

By Katy Grimes, May 15, 2020 10:06 am

California’s Senate Republicans introduced a package of bills earlier in the year to fix and/or fully repeal Assembly Bill 5, the bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) which has limited Californians’ ability to work as independent contractors and freelancers. It was revealed during Senate debate in September that the AFL-CIO wrote AB 5.

Independent contractors are now forced to be employees and work specified shifts, focus on specified activities only, drive only for a single platform (e.g. Lyft, Uber, Doordash) and in a specific neighborhood, Senate Republicans explained.

Thousands of Jobs & Industries Impacted

Impacted industries include, among others: ridesharing, food delivery, design services, timber operations, single truck owner-operators, hospitality franchises (Pizza Hut, Marriott, KFC, IHOP, etc.), interpreting and translating services; physical, respiratory, massage, speech, occupational and other therapy industries; nonprofits, home repairs, catering and event planning, lab technology, nurse anesthetizing, optometry, social work, behavioral health, pet grooming, dog walking, pool cleaning, and many, many more.

AB 5 also randomly limited freelance writers and photographers to 35 submissions annually per media outlet. There have been numerous carve-outs for industries which agreed with Gonzalez to unionize.

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) authored Senate Bill 806 to repeal and replace AB 5 with a new test which supports much more worker freedoms, and saves business-to-business relationships.

Grove’s bill was heard Thursday in the Senate Labor Committee, where despite her assurances that the bill will cover all workers, unlike those with carve outs, Democrats killed the bill.

“Carve outs don’t comply with the law,” Grove explained. “SB 806 will protect workers, freelancers and independent contractors and will not create confusion and carve-outs.”

In addition to being open to the public, the hearing was also a Zoom video conference where witnesses and members of the public could call in to support or oppose the bill. With only 10 minutes for the public to weigh in their support, 30 callers made their support official, with 14 left on hold when time ran out. Nearly all supporters were individuals who said they were independent contractors or gig workers: interpreters, construction workers, writers, professional musicians, Uber/Lyft/Doordash drivers, and the self-employed.

There were far fewer opposition callers with only 9, and were nearly all labor union representatives: UFCW, teamsters, machinists, CA Nurses Association, United Employees Union, CA Federation of Teachers and Consumer Attorneys.

Several supporters even snuck calls in, angry they had been cut off. “I am in support and you cut us off!” one caller said.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Perhaps the most egregious and condescending comments of the hearing came from Senator Hannah Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), who claimed that when people (independent contractors) say they’ve lost their jobs, they don’t really mean it – that’s it’s businesses which just don’t want to hire them properly.

Jackson, burnishing her credentials as a tone-deaf political elitist, said freelancers, gig workers and independent contractors are only angry about the job losses because the law is “taking away the lollipop they had to work when they want.”

“Employers have every ability to hire these employees,” Jackson added.

Committee Chairman Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) commended Grove for her bill, but said “I can’t support this bill – I don’t think this is the way to do it.”

SB 806 received 4 NO votes from committee Democrats, and 1 AYE vote from Republican Sen. Mike Morrell.

Language from SB 806: The bill would, instead, establish a new test that, for purposes of specific provisions of the Labor Code governing the relationship of employer and employees, a person providing labor or services for remuneration is considered an employee rather than an independent contractor, unless the hiring entity demonstrates that the person is (1) free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact, determined by a preponderance of factors, with no single factor of control being determinative, and either that (2) the person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, or the work performed is outside the place of business of the hiring entity, or the worker is responsible for the costs of the place of the business where the work is performed, or that (3) the person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

This is Republicans’ entire legislative package to repeal and/or fix AB 5. Click here to read more about Republicans’ legislative package.

  • SB 806 (Grove): Repeal & Replace AB 5
  • SB 867 (Bates): Protect Newspaper Carriers and Distributors
  • SB 868 (Bates): Protect Freelance Journalists
  • SB 875 (Grove/Jones): Exempt Interpreters/Translators
  • SB 881 (Jones): Exempt Musicians and Music Industry Professionals
  • SB 963 (Morrell): Protect Independent Umpires and Referees
  • SB 965 (Nielsen): Exempt Healthcare Facilities
  • SB 966 (Nielsen): Exempt Licensed Pharmacists
  • SB 967 (Borgeas): Protect Franchisors and Franchisees
  • SB 975 (Dahle): Assist Timber Industry
  • SB 990 (Moorlach): Protect APP-based drivers
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21 thoughts on “California Democrats Again Kill Fix to AB5

  1. What an arrogant, small minded piece of crap Hannah Beth Jackson is. Lollipop…really, she has no clue how hard working independent contractors are. She is a gisgrace for making a comment like that.

  2. Three cheers to Shannon Grove for slamming away at this tough nut.
    Weird, isn’t it, how much CONTEMPT the Hannah-Beth Jacksons and the Lorena Gonzalezes and their ilk have for the workers they want to HELP so much. You know? Wondering if they could ever possibly grasp just how much they are LOATHED at this point, including, I’m sure, by many who may have voted for them. Clueless! You can’t talk to these people, forget about reasoning with them, they have dead shark eyes and probably no reflections, every last one of them. Probably wise to just save our breath until we are dead, dead serious about throwing them out of office. And you never know, it might even happen, when you look at their abusive behavior. Even “battered constituent syndrome” has its limits.

  3. Being an independent voter I’ll make sure that I will be voting for every republican candidate that is in the ballot in California until and only AB5 is reformed or replaced by a fair bill that will protect all the workers

      1. Oh, so THAT’S what I’m hearing — that annoying New England or whatever it is accent.
        I guess she was shipped out here to help the California Cause of Destruction?
        It’s looking like a lot of people were… Maybe there were too many in their own home towns so they decided to pepper the country with their overstock of insane Marxists?

  4. Voted democrat since 1976. Republicans were bad before and are far, far worse today. Because of AB5, and the absolute deafness of California democrats, I voted republican in the local elections last round and will do it again in November. Watching online as my artist friends, long time liberals are doing the same, all of us with a bad taste in our mouths. But if you’re going to take away our profession, then we will take away yours.

    1. Switched 17 years ago, haven’t looked back. Was never attacked then (by Repubs), now constantly attacked by less-than-admirable people who call themselves Dems but are really dupes for a larger, tyrannical agenda that even they don’t seem to understand.
      You can switch now too, if you have had enough of having your livelihood snatched away by people who pretend to care about your welfare but are actually only focused on expanding their own power. Or, you are otherwise fed up with being led around by the nose:

  5. Patience to revise or starve now….the beat downs are Curious…drive companies destroyed cab drivers jobs…little love for the cabbies….next pimpled kids delivering pizza wiped out by a new group of delivering slaves. But well.hold up….I’m a starving artist, I’m a shoe shine stand owner and on and on worker after worker with no pensions, no benefits, ticking wards of the State when age, infirmity, economic or health emergencies arise.

    Between China worker slavery or this AB5 mess, one has little respect for the MASTERS who really don’t play by the rules, exploit workers and put legitimate business out of business.

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