Worker Classification Bill Expected to Be Signed by Governor Newsom

Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), authored by local Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is one signature away from being on the books as Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign it.

The bill will reclassify independent contractors. Under AB5, workers would have to be assigned to tasks outside of the business’s usual work course and be free from the control and direction of the hiring entity. These two factors alone impact companies like Uber and Lyft’s business model.

Many rideshare drivers like Jae McCabe are not happy with what the changes could mean for them.

“I can’t get a traditional job because I have medical issues, so that gives me the flexibility, and it is going to change the entire structure of what we do,” said McCabe.

Local business owner and photographer Courtney Henderson uses contract employees often for his photography studio. He says he needs to provide a variety of services and can’t have every type of photographer on staff.

“The whole point of business is you want to be a business man and bring business in, and provide opportunity for others," Henderson explains.

He is now looking at how he will have to change his work flow.

“So now, I have to back track and shoot more. So now I am self-employed again," said Henderson.

Some are choosing to see what the potential benefits could be.

Rideshare driver Rich Spinelli looks forward to getting paid while waiting for his next customer and getting reimbursed for gas and car maintenance costs.

Supporters of AB5 are asking for a $30/hour minimum wage, for rideshare companies to recognize their union, driver security, job security, and cap on rideshare drivers to reduce traffic and carbon emissions.

"We hope government officials across the country will see this as an opportunity to support their constituents as well and defend the gig economy’s most vulnerable workers," John Costa, International President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, said in a written release.

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