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The Bill That Killed Freelance


You have to work 70-80 hours a week just to survive. Freelancers, like Uber drivers are being abused! Say the media. This driver has a three-year-old and one-year-old, but says he hardly gets to spend any time with them. I have to work like every single day, more than 10 hours, 11 hours So in California, unions pushed for a new law. Pass AB 5, help workers survive! It passed. It makes sure that the 1 million independent contractors in California get the wages and benefits that they deserve. Assemblywoman Gonzalez wrote the law that dictates millions of freelancers must now be hired as employees. “Gig Workers Win Historic Victory,” said the media. They’ll get benefits they need, like a minimum wage, overtime, sick pay. Politicians said this will help freelancers a lot. You’re thinking you’re helping us, but you’re not. [unzip] Freelancers like Ari Herstand say, “This law hurts us.” This law was written to help the little guy. I’m a little guy. I’m a musician! [music] This could single handedly crash the California music economy. [music] I’ll play a gig at a venue in L.A., and I want to hire a drummer, a bassist and a guitar player, $200 each. Now, before, just cut them a check for $200. Now, I actually have to take that drummer, put him on payroll, W2 him, get workers’ comp insurance, unemployment insurance, I have to pay payroll taxes. I also have to now hire a payroll company. [music] Not only that If he works for someone else [music] I’m going to have to be an employee of that music venue when I just play there once, once a year maybe. And so the music venues, we’re going to start to see those shutting down. Having a good one? Yep. The law targeted rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft. Politicians clamed the companies abused drivers. But now many drivers are upset by the law, saying “I like being independent.” I don’t want a boss to tell me when or where to drive. I like making money making deliveries because I’m on my own schedule This is my favorite pastime right now. When I get into an Uber or a Lyft, I ask my driver, “What do you think about this new law?” Either they don’t know about it or they’re not in favor of it either. And I’m like, “Oh wait, why don’t you like that? This law was written to help you? They’re like, “Oh, well, I’m a recording engineer, I’m a photographer and this is my fourth side gig. I want to do this when I want to do this, and if now I’m an employee and I’m W2’d, they’re going to dictate my hours. I don’t want that. The reason I do this is for the freedom and the flexibility.” But the lawmakers say “we know better.” When you have to take a side job, or a third gig, or a fourth gig, that’s not flexibility, that’s feudalism No, but we want to. You’re preventing us from doing what we want to do. [Truck honk] It’s not something that we need or even want. You know? We want to leave it the way it is. The law upset truck drivers, too. Dozens of independents who own and operate their own trucks drove around the capital protesting the bill. Their protest won them an exemption from the law. These other politically connected professions got exemptions too. I’ve been trying to work out a cleanup bill to give the music industry an exemption from this law. Oh, you get an exemption then, and the truck drivers get an exemption. Right. Why is that good law? Exception for who’s ever clever enough to get to the politicians. It’s definitely not the solution. “Can you just write us out of this law and help us out? Here’s some money for your next campaign.” No, that doesn’t seem like that’s a way to kind of legislate. No, it doesn’t. but that’s how it’s often done. And now other politicians want to copy California’s law. New York’s already started to adopt it, New Jersey, Illinois, and the House of Representatives just passed a similar bill Because politicians say freelance work Is exploitive, abusive, it’s a scam, it’s a fraud I don’t feel like I’m being taken advantage of by anybody. My choice, not yours! Neither do these dancers. The got in the assemblywoman’s face about it! I work at a club. I have a choice. I work at a- Who are you? When Gonzalez lobbied for the law, she didn’t mention jobs that her law might kill. My choice, not yours! But she did say It preserves our current union jobs. It’s been rumored that the unions pretty much wrote this law and handed it to assemblywoman Gonzalez and said “Hey pass this.” AB5 is backed by labor groups who want to unionize gig workers. If you look at her top donor list, number one and two are unions. Help workers survive At first, the media were also big supporters of the law. “Gig workers’ win …” said Vox But once the law passed, Vox Media cut hundreds of freelance jobs. They were expecting that all of these companies were going to reclassify their contractors, thier independent contractors as employees. In reality, what’s actually happening is they’re just letting them all go. What do you have to say to those freelance journalists, those independent contractors, who were working and have now lost their jobs because of AB 5, your bill? First of all, it wasn’t a job, these aren’t jobs. These are freelance positions that may be 3 hours a month and it may be 300 hours a month. The arrogance of politicians! People chose these jobs. Freelancers like the flexibility. Politicians have no right to say all those jobs aren’t good enough. Gonzalez would not agree to an interview, and now that there’s backlash neither would the unions, or any of the 75 law professors, political scientists, and sociologists who signed this letter in support of the law. They’re embarrassed that they made this huge mistake, that they supported something. They aren’t taking it back. Well there are politics at play, unfortunately. No politician ever wants to admit he did something wrong. Exactly. No politician ever wants to admit that they did something wrong. I hope you learned something from this video. I learned doing these stories. Please, click this button to help us make more.

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