On Wednesday, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 5, which poses an existential threat to the very gig economy that Democrats tout as the heart and soul of California’s economy. It’s a union-crafted disaster that codifies the state Supreme Court’s Dynamex decision from last year. In that bout of judicial activism, justices imposed an “ABC Test” for companies that want to use contractors or freelancers as their workforce.The article linked above claims this is just more lefty madness, but I disagree vigorously. I think it's high time we regulated the hipster sweatshops of Uber, Lyft ad the rest. Why do we allow the "gig economy" corporate titans to get rich off of lunkheads who aren't so good at math or financial analysis? Isn't that one of the biggest reasons we have labor laws in the first place?
Those companies can only use contractors if the worker a) doesn’t take direction from the company; b) is involved in work that is not related to the company’s core mission; and c) has established some sort of independent operation, such as an LLC. In other words, Uber and Lyft can hire an independent contractor to, say, do some electrical work in their headquarters or repair their vehicles, but not to work as drivers. There’s no way around that test.
I'm sympathetic to the libertarian side of things, but in this case, someone needs to look out for the poor slobs trying to make their rent payments by grinding their cars into the asphalt. I cannot imagine that any of them are making anything remotely approaching minimum wage, once you factor in depreciation and maintenance costs on their vehicles. The reason we have minimum wage laws in the first place is to prevent the ultra-rich from taking advantage of workers desperate for a job.
I feel like we give the smarmy creeps from Uber and Lyft a pass on this because you use an app to summon your rickshaw. It can't be injustice if it's on your iPhone! Yeah, get lost, you exploiters of the poor. Time to pay up.
|Pull me faster, you worthless peasant! I don't care if you're losing money on this ride.|