Home>Articles>Hundreds of Freelancers at ‘Repeal AB5’ Rally Want Back the Right to Earn a Living in CA

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley led the Repeal AB5 rally at the State Capitol. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Hundreds of Freelancers at ‘Repeal AB5’ Rally Want Back the Right to Earn a Living in CA

The ‘brute political force’ of AB5 unleashed on single women, men and families, seniors and needy

By Katy Grimes, January 28, 2020 4:44 pm

“When you take your God-given talents, nurture them with heart and soul, and offer them to the world, that’s not exploitation. That’s self-actualization.”


“Governor Newsom: we are here today to tell you that your vision cannot be reality as long as AB 5 is on the books,” Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Roseville) said at a rally to Repeal AB 5 Tuesday. “Governor, your own former deputy chief of staff called AB 5 ‘one of the most destructive pieces of legislation in the last 20 years.’”

And the crowd of independent contractors and freelancers cheered.

Assembly Bill 5 by former labor leader Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has already significantly 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.

AB 5 also randomly limits freelance writers and photographers to 35 submissions annually per media outlet, and will serve to significantly limit Californians’ ability to work as independent contractors and freelancers. It was revealed during Senate debate in September that the AFL-CIO wrote AB5.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, author of AB5, and Gov. Gavin Newsom
Funniest sign carried at the Repeal AB5 rally. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Rather than challenging the flawed California Supreme Court decision, the bill, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, broadly codified the newest definition of an employee, established last year in a case involving two delivery drivers who sued the Dynamex Corporation for classifying them as independent contractors instead of employees.

Monday, Assemblyman Kiley issued a 200-page book of #AB5stories to every legislator and the governor, prior to Tuesday’s Repeal AB5 rally.

At the rally Kiley said videographers and caricaturists, transcriptionists and interpreters, technicians and engineers, analysts and consultants, musicians and conductors, Artists and Dancers, writers and editors, coaches and trainers, teachers and tutors, nurses and doulas… “Perhaps never in our history has a legislative enactment so shattered the lives of so many people, or so shaken the foundations of our pluralist society.”

More than 150 professions are impacted by AB5, “hardly an industry or trade is unscathed,” Kiley said.

“This is what happens when humanist values give way to brute political force.”

The rally wasn’t partisan or political, and many in attendance said this is not a partisan issue – it equally harms all independent contractors and freelancers.

Invited to speak at the rally were eight different freelancers and independent contractors who shared their stories: freelance journalists, screenwriters, musicians, dancers, composers, a multi-language court interpreter, conference interpreter, and translator, and Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Caleb Trotter who is representing the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Press Photographers Association in their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of AB 5 as it pertains to freelance journalists and photographers.

These independent anesthesiologists were at the rally:

How Many Freelance and Independent Contractors Are Working in the U.S.?

To get an idea of just how many freelance and independent contractors there are in the United States, and how important being an independent contractor is, “Freelancing in America” did a comprehensive measure of the independent workforce. How many Americans are freelancing? Why? How will they play a critical role in the rapid evolution of work?” FreeTrain reported.

There are 56.7 million freelance workers currently enjoying life as independent contractors in America.

The study, conducted by an independent research firm and commissioned in partnership by Upwork and Freelancers Union, surveyed more than 6,000 U.S. workers.

The five most notable findings reveal:

  • Americans are spending more time freelancing: Average weekly hours spent freelancing increased 72 million hours per week from 998 million in 2015 to more than one billion hours per week of freelancing this year.
  • Technology is making it easier to find work: 64% of freelancers found work online, a 22 point increase since 2014.
  • Lifestyle matters most: Both freelancers and non-freelancers prioritize achieving the lifestyle that they want but freelancers are more likely to get it.​ 51% of all freelancers say no amount of money would get them to take a traditional job.
  • Freelancers are more politically active: In this election season, freelancers indicated they are 19 points more politically active than non-freelancers. More than seven in 10 (72%) said they’d be willing to cross party lines to vote for candidates who support freelancer interests.
  • Freelancers place more value on skills training: ​93% of freelancers with a four-year college degree said training was useful versus only 79% who said their college education was useful to the work they do now; and 70% of full-time freelancers participated in skills training in the past six months compared to only 49% of full-time non-freelancers.

‘These were never good jobs.’


Large crowd of freelancers and independent contractors at Repeal AB5 rally at Capitol. (Photo: Katy Grimes for California Globe)

Assemblywoman Gonzalez said in December, “These were never good jobs,” referring to freelance journalists.

Throughout the committee process for AB 5, Gonzalez was warned of the far-reaching implications should it become law. Editorial boards throughout the state, including the Orange County RegisterSan Diego Union-TribuneSacramento Bee, and San Jose Mercury News said AB 5 would endanger the newspaper industry.

Gonzalez was warned AB 5 could destroy California’s entire Gig economy if passed and signed into law.

A comment on a California Globe article about AB 5 went even further in describing the ramifications:

‘This is how you build a dependent, enslaved workforce, a workforce that eventually becomes institutionalized, which then evolves into an unabashed socialist way of life. An institution not chosen by the people, but one forced upon them by legislation.’

After the rally, those attending went inside the Capitol to share their experiences with find their elected legislators.

AB 1928 is the urgency bill to repeal AB 5; ACA 19 puts the Right to Earn a Living in the California Constitution, Kiley says.

“Governor Newsom, if you are listening – you will have to realize what a failure of leadership AB 5 was,” Kiley said.

He added, “When you take your God-given talents, nurture them with heart and soul, and offer them to the world, that’s not exploitation. That’s self-actualization.”

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8 thoughts on “Hundreds of Freelancers at ‘Repeal AB5’ Rally Want Back the Right to Earn a Living in CA

  1. Due to AB5 and wage bill SB241 it is now over 700 for 24 hour care for your loved one. We just had a client drown in her pool in the middle of the night because they could not afford the 700 a day it would take to care for mom. They left her home at night alone she wondered outside and drown!

  2. Wow, Assemblyman Kiley, way to mount a great effort to repeal this stupid and destructive law with #AB5Stories and a successful rally in Sacramento. Gives us all a chance to see just HOW MANY professions have been devastated. Anesthesiologists! That was a new one for me. Uh, I think we need those, don’t we, Lorena G.? Or is that another one that was “never a good job”?

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