The denizens of Porn Valley, like many thousands of freelancers in California, have been struggling under AB5, the idiotic, destructive “gig economy” law that was ramrodded through the state legislature and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Now, as this terrible idea is being brought before the US Congress to crush independent contracts nationwide, there’s a glimmer of hope of repeal, as this report by Kira Davis notes:
As the nation wrings their hands over Iowa caucuses and an upcoming State of the Union speech, the battle for the freedom to work rages on in California. The state’s “gig economy” law that ends the right to work as an independent contractor for nearly everyone has caused unprecedented chaos and income loss nearly overnight.
The state capitol has been flooded with calls and emails asking for AB5 to be repealed, but the governor and the bill’s sponsor – Lorena Gonzalez (D-80) have only doubled-down on their commitment to end the gig economy. Shenanigans abound.
On Monday, California freelance writers got wind of an astroturfed “lobby day” in Sacramento meant to push back against legitimate opposition to the law. Supposed supporters filled a room and took turns speaking in favor of AB5…for five hours. Interestingly, nearly every “supporter” was a union worker or representative – the very people the law does not affect. Why weren’t any pro-AB5 non-union workers invited?
After getting word that the lobbyists would be sitting on a couple of hashtags, writers and other ICs quickly organized to push back. They spent the day jumping on the hashtags used by Lorena Gonzalez and the bill’s union sponsors, telling their own stories and refuting any misinformation trying to be passed off as fact.
The results were tragically glorious. The hashtags were immediately overwhelmed with story after story of people who have lost their income overnight, and with requests for the law to be repealed immediately.
It became quickly apparent that Lorena Gonzalez and her people were not prepared for the pushback. The hashtags #ABWorks and #DisruptInequality went from being pro-AB5 threads to anti-AB5 threads in a matter of minutes and stayed that way all day. Also good to note -the outrage was completely bipartisan. It was not attached to party in any way.
California Assemblyman Kevin Kiley commented on the “lobby day”, saying it is “unheard of” in Sacramento “to have a Lobby Day for a law that has already passed.”
Is there momentum building? Most certainly. Here is a thread of real, live people explaining how AB5 has completely obliterated their livelihood, or threatens to.
The thread is long and it is only a sampling of stories, but these stories set the stage for what is about to become a very heated, prolonged battle against a state law that threatens to become national that will fundamentally change the face of the American economy as we know it in the worst of ways.
The stories are still flooding in on the hashtags today. If you want to see more stories and concerns, join the Facebook group Freelancers Against AB5 and feast your eyes. The scope of this law is wide, astounding and nearly unbelievable. Lorena Gonzalez and her lobby have been trying to frame the opponents as “bots” or “paid protestors”. It is grossly offensive to be told by your own elected officials that not only are you not smart enough to make your own employment decisions but in fact, you don’t exist.
California has already begun early primary voting. Yes, we have a full 30 days to
rig cast our ballots. The fight is on to remove these thieves from office and replace them with politicians who will repeal AB5 and let Californians get back to work.
As of the publication of the piece, Congress is set to vote on the national version (The PRO Act or HR2474) on Thursday. If you’re saying to yourself, “The GOP Senate won’t let it pass. I’m not worried” then just know that no bad idea ever dies, it just gets stuffed in a body bag and shoved into the freezer until people forget about it and then eventually rises again like a zombie.
This gross miscarriage of justice must be snipped at the source, and the source is California, Lorena Gonzalez and Governor Gavin Newsom.