This week, we asked our friends on Facebook what they think of Assembly Bill 5, making its way through the Legislature. 

We asked, “Are you an Uber or Lyft driver? Or some other type of private contractor whose status would be affected by Calif. Assembly Bill 5, which sets higher standards for what can be defined as a private contractor? How do you think the bill would affect you?”

– Annette Nonya: Assembly Bill 5 is wrong on all counts. Can California government be more greedy and have less regard to its citizens? This Bill doesn’t protect California workers with better pay or working conditions. Persons/workers choose to work as independent contractors. It benefits them as well as the companies or businesses they choose to do business with. By putting Assembly Bill 5 in place, it will destroy the ICs and close many businesses. The ones to gain from it are the insurance companies/workers comp and general liability business policies and the CA Taxes.

– Amy Valadez: Currently a revision of AB5 is in the works to exclude cosmetologists and barbers. If that fails to pass, all salon, barber, and spa workers will be required to be employees of the establishment and paid hourly, or personally own the establishment they work in and cannot have booth renters who have the same occupation as them. ...

– Gail Parrish: I heard this bill also affects newspaper delivery drivers and will really hurt the smaller newspaper companies.

– Appeal-Democrat: The bill, if it passes as is, would be fairly devastating for the newspaper industry. We’ve had a long-standing hard ruling on what constitutes contractual workers and have lived by it for decades. If the bill isn’t amended to recognize that arrangement, we’re not sure most newspapers would be able to continue home delivery ... our fingers are crossed.

– Gail Parrish: I really hope it gets shot down because it’s so wrong on so many levels.

– Curtis Grima (screen shot of text): Members of California Truckers Guild, “many of whom are immigrants and minorities who have saved and invested in their own trucks to achieve their own American Dream,” discuss their opposition to AB5, saying the bill would “essentially end the use of independent truckers who own and operate their own trucks and set their own schedules...”

– Charles Sharp: The problem with actual employees is the considerable financial overhead they create. Contractors have no such overhead. The less cost, the more profit, therefore contractors are favored over employees. This situation was created by the State Legislature, the very legislature trying to now force employee status on everyone so the state can get more money out of businesses.

– William Coney: Is what you’re calling “considerable financial overhead” things like a livable minimum wage, health insurance, sick days, and so on?

– Charles Sharp: ... I have one employee and there is lots of overhead. By this logic, if I need someone to replace the a/c unit (which I did), I would have to hire him as an employee.

– William Coney: Charles Sharp: Not a very good example – what the state is doing is defining what comprises an “independent” contractor, not attempting to “force employee status” on everyone.

– Charles Sharp: Fair enough, but I’m not the State Legislature that is revising the law. It seems this is aimed at the “gig” economy. The definition of independent contractor is: 1) Free from the “control and direction” of the company they’re working for; 2) Performing work that is “outside the course” of the company’s usual business; 3) And have their own independently established trade, occupation, or business.

– William Coney: Charles Sharp: All three of those things apply to the electrician I hired last week to install a whole house surge protector. But where you and I may differ is that I do believe a company like Uber has been trying to maximize their company profit by falsely claiming their drivers are “independent.” Reasonable men can reasonably disagree as the saying goes.

– Robert Walsh: William Coney: Does Uber force people to drive for them? Negative, ghost rider. Just as I mentioned earlier, moral do-gooders who think they know best want to force their views on others. Do you know what happens to those who resist government edicts? Thanks but no thanks. Did you pay your electrician to sit on the couch and not work? Because that’s what you’re asking Uber to do with their contractors. Uber drivers chose that “gig.” For the high crime of “trying to maximize profit,” the state wants to wreck the entire independent contractor economy. Those of us who like liberty call this the “tyranny of the majority.”

– Jeremy Sykes: I know one thing. I’m happy I left that state for good 10 years ago. I absolutely refuse to “be ruled” by people in politics that are beneath me. 

–Bradley Gualco: Most jobs have been turned into “gigs.” These gigs offer nothing but a few bucks (such as $12/h). You get no health benefits. No protections. No stability in your life. No bereavement if your mom dies. It would be fine if this was just a side job, to supplement your regular day job, but it’s becoming more popular for companies to drop jobs with benefits and just hire these temporary gig employees. The result is a bunch of sick homeless people. I was just driving in San Francisco and there are people living in tents everywhere. In fact, someone’s tent wasn’t anchored down and was blowing across the freeway! Cars were dodging it! There must be protections for people who choose to work or we are just a third world country. In the meantime, the CEOs are taking in multi-million dollar paychecks. They are giving 0.0012% of their paycheck to paying employees. That’s not responsible. Hell is going to be crowded!

– Barbara Carden: I became an independent contractor because I want to control my own time and not punch a time clock. If not in the beginning, eventually it would turn into an employer controlling your time. I agree with Robert Walsh’s opinion.

– Robert Walsh: Not familiar with the bill, but anytime the government decides for the people how you should run your business it is akin to tyranny. Just because something is done under the guise of “helping” doesn’t mean it will actually help. ...

– Kenny Ines: We are no longer being governed. We are being ruled over.

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