Letter to the Editor: Assembly Bill (AB) 5

Dear Editor, 

As a medical-courier, I can attest from personal experience that our state’s infamous anti-independent contractor law, Assembly Bill (AB) 5, is upending the livelihoods of thousands of hardworking Californians.

Until now, as an independent contractor, I’ve been able to set my own hours and work for a variety of different businesses. It has allowed me to be my own boss, control which jobs I take, and decide the rate I will charge for my services. And while I am responsible for my own insurance and costs, the flexibility far outweighs the downsides.

In fact, the emergence of independent contracting has helped many people in my industry who would otherwise have to work 2-3 jobs, seven days per week, be able to tap into multiple sources of income when they want to and how they want to. And while most people might think of Uber and Lyft as the main “gig economy” players, the same benefits and flexibility they offer people who need additional income or can only work part-time exist across nearly every industry. This is why AB 5 is such a threat.

If you’re reading this, you are likely aware of the severity of our country’s current economic situation. And if you are from California, you are also aware that things are worse here than anywhere else. As a result of record inflation, rapidly rising interest rates, and continued supply chain and labor shortages, layoffs have been steadily increasing in the private sector.

Thanks to AB 5, plaintiffs’ lawyers can sue companies to their hearts’ content, using the nation’s strictest threshold for what defines an independent contractor in California. As a result, businesses are becoming increasingly hesitant to pay for our services, and it becomes a lose-lose for everyone. They can’t afford the investment that comes with hiring full-time employees, but they also can’t risk getting sued for outsourcing the work to folks like me.

Say goodbye to reasonably priced rideshare services and food delivery, free and overnight shipping, and any other service on-demand.

AB5 is singlehandedly worsening our economic situation in California, and things will only get worse if we don’t reverse course.

AB 5 is a blight on California’s already struggling economy. We need change now.

Guadalupe Gonzales, Malibu 

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