“Last year California passed AB5 affording gig workers protections and benefits like a minimum wage and overtime pay,” Joe Biden tweeted on Tuesday. “Now, gig economy giants are trying to gut the law and exempt their workers. It’s unacceptable. I urge Californians to vote no on the initiative this November.”
The initiative, qualified for the ballot on May 22, establishes criteria for determining whether rideshare drivers are “employees” or “independent contractors.” AB5 also targets freelance writers and independent contractors in dozens of professions, including health care. Joe Biden was all in from the start.
“I’m pleased the CA Legislature passed AB5,” Biden tweeted last September. “As president, I will enact a federal law to ensure gig workers get the full protections they deserve.” In March, Biden tweeted support for AB5, “which will give workers the dignity they deserve in the workplace,” adding “We can’t let corporations undermine basic rights by adding these exemptions to ground-breaking legislation.” Contrary to the former vice president, it was AB5 that undermined workers’ basic rights and restricted their ability to earn a living.
Many Californians choose to be freelance writers, an independent lifestyle that affords the freedom to be one’s own boss, enjoy flexibility of hours, and write for a host of publications. Assembly Bill 5 limits freelance writers to 35 submissions per year, per publication – less than one submission per week – and the same restriction applies to photographers, videographers, cartoonists and such.
The threat to writers’ livelihood might be clearer if AB 5 limited independent physicians to 35 office consultations per year, lawyers to 35 cases per year, or electricians to 35 jobs per year, and so forth. As with Uber and Lyft drivers, AB5 seeks to make freelancers unionized full-time staffers, at a time when establishment newspapers are shedding staffers by the day. The primary targets of AB 5 are new websites such as the California Globe, now providing independent news and commentary for the people.
AB5 author Lorena Gonzalez is on record that freelance writers and independent contractors were “never good jobs,” but the San Diego Democrat, a former union organizer, had not bothered to consult the independent workers. In late January, hundreds gathered at the state capitol in Sacramento to protest AB5. “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,” said Kevin Kiley, a Republican Assemblyman from nearby Roseville. “Hardly an industry or trade is unscathed.”
Before the mass unemployment brought on by Gov. Newsom’s lockdown order in March, AB5 was distancing workers from their livelihood. Biden’s worshipful March 7 tweet ignored that reality, and Twitter did not subject it to a fact check. AB-5 was being challenged in court, and as the needless suffering continued, 153 California economists and political scientists told Newsom in a letter: “By prohibiting the use of independent contractor drivers, health care professionals, and workers in other critical areas, AB-5 is doing substantial, and avoidable, harm to the very people who now have the fewest resources and the worst alternatives available to them.”
The distinguished scholars, including Nobel laureate Vernon Smith, urged Newsom to suspend the measure. The governor declined to do so, and prefers to deploy his emergency powers for partisan causes. By the end of April, Newsom had issued more than 30 executive orders, and he recently barred public protests at the state capitol, now guarded by CHP officers in full riot gear. So no more AB5 protests like the one in January.
On May 8, Gov. Newsom ordered “vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3, 2020 General Election to all registered voters.” This will add to the voter fraud leftist Democrats have already institutionalized in California.
Under the “motor voter” program, the state Department of Motor Vehicles automatically registers to vote those who get driver’s licenses, including those illegally present in the United States and not eligible to vote in U.S. elections. By 2018, more than one million illegals had received driver’s licenses but secretary of state Alex Padilla isn’t saying how many voted. In similar style, after the 2016 election, Padilla refused to comply with a federal probe of voter fraud.
Newsom’s vote-by-mail order raises questions about the ballot measure to reform AB5. That measure will not fix everything but will surely boost the prospects of independent workers. Joe Biden is urging Californians to vote no, and that raises another issue for the former vice president, who recently told African Americans “you ain’t black,” if they fail to support him.
The Democrat candidate is often certain of his location and the office he is seeking. On the other hand, Biden readily approves anything his handlers run by him. That includes AB5, a leading contender for the most openly repressive measure in California and national history.
As president, Joe Biden says, he would approve a federal law just like AB5. The election takes place on November 3. As President Trump says, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.