Both presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his VP pick Kamala Harris have voiced their support for a controversial law in California that gutted the state employment months before the Chinese coronavirus came to America.
The law, which began as Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), completely upended the way contract workers were allowed to be classified in the state. The results have been catastrophic for the gig economy and freelance workers, many of whom have lost income and the freedom to earn when and how they wanted.
Democrats have defended the bill and its outcome, even as their furthest left supporters have said it was rushed through the state assembly and signed into law without consideration for the devastating impact it could have on the state. According to the authors of the bill, including its chief supporter Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-CA), AB5 gives workers more protection by forcing them into an employment relationship.
Believers in the bill say that the required employee status means the workers are now subject to the same legally required paid time off, sick leave, inflated minimum wages, and health benefits that the rest of the state's employees are.
So in the seven months since AB5 became California law, has the change helped workers receive more protection and benefits?
The anti-freelancer bill #ab5 extends far beyond drivers. Many people who work freelance have lost their professional careers. Dont let this go national with #proact Biden has said he would support it. #ab5stories— #repealAB5 #openTheSchools (@RepealAb5) August 11, 2020
The law requires employers to hire contract workers full-time under a variety of thresholds, which almost entirely eliminates the ability to earn enough money to live without being hired by a company full-time. For example, freelance writers, who almost always contribute to a variety of publications, must be employed if they write more than 35 independent submissions per publication, per year.
Other freelance work is met with strict pay rate and hours-worked limitations, which dramatically impacts the entertainment and hospitality industries in a state where both drive the economy. Under the law, delivery and rideshare drivers simply cannot operate independently.
Notable beneficiaries of the new law are the state and federal labor unions, which are heavily supported in the state by Democratic lawmakers. The AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the nation, authored AB5 and designed the structure that would spell the end of independent earning in California.
Despite championing the unions' empty words, outlets with noted leftist bias like Vox felt the tremendous heat of AB5 down its neck when the law went into effect in January. Hundreds of freelance writers, photographers, and editors were forced to separate from Vox in order to abide by the law. Favorite blogsites SB Nation, Curbed, and Eater were most heavily impacted.
Now, Uber and Lyft are saying they'll likely be forced to end service in California as they would be unable to restructure their entire business model in the state to accommodate the law.
Thousands of Californians have lost millions of dollars in potential income. But despite the abject failure of AB5 in California and the cut-and-dry manipulation by the AFL-CIO and the politicians they fund, Biden and Harris have gleefully championed AB5 as a great success. Now, they both support the PRO Act, the federal version of the bill that would dump the horrible legislation on the entire country.
Of course Miss #AB5 is all in ... @JoeBiden has endorsed her legislation that has wiped out over 3 million jobs in CA this year.— Mike Sullivan against #ProAct & #AB5 (@MrSportsBlog) August 12, 2020
She loves wrecking lives & seeing people suffer so she can't wait for Biden to sign #ProAct into law & wreck 57 million self-employed jobs nationwide. https://t.co/iRk0fyx8lC
Harris has even spoken out against Proposition 22, an upcoming ballot measure in California that would give some relief to delivery and rideshare services.
We cannot allow giant gig corporations to exempt themselves from providing essential protections and benefits for their workers. I urge Californians to join me in standing with these essential workers by voting NO on Prop 22.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) July 3, 2020
Harris may call them "essential workers," but without the relief of Prop. 22, they won't be workers at all.
In short, these measures that are so enthusiastically championed by leftist elite politicians do nothing but ravage the job industry and strip Americans of their right to work and earn as they please.