- Truck owner-operators in California are planning protests this week over Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) — signed into law in September by California Governor Gavin Newsom, according to flyers on social media sites and local news reports.
- Drivers are planning work stoppages and protests, including visits to lawmaker offices, according to KPIX CBS.
- Representatives for the Ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland told HR Dive's sister site Supply Chain Dive they saw no interruption to operations Monday. "Our operations today are normal. It appears that we have not yet seen the impact," a spokesperson for the Port of Long Beach said in an email.
AB5 promises to rewrite the state's employment laws to make it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors by requiring them to follow a three-part test to determine contractor eligibility.
To be considered an independent contractor under AB5 the worker would need to "perform work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity's business," the bill reads.
A truck driver working for a carrier arguably performs the work that is within the company's usual course of business, a violation under AB5. "These owner-operators didn't seem to be paying attention during the time of when the sausage was getting made," Joe Rajkovacz, the director of Governmental Affairs and Communications for the Western States Trucking Association, told Supply Chain Dive in an interview. "And now that AB5 is law it seems to have gotten people's attention."
There were 50 people protesting outside of State Senator Bill Monning's office on Monday, according to the Monterey Herald, which described it as a "grassroots effort" with "no affiliation with any association."
It is not uncommon for large carriers to face lawsuits from workers who want to be classified as an employee rather than a contractor.
Still, others don't appear to want that classification. "This law is bad because we're going to be forced to be employees when we can grow as a small business," Eduardo Rangel, a truck owner-operator, told KPIX. There are a number of exemptions written into AB5 for jobs like freelance writers or graphic designers, and Uber and Lyft have thrown their weight behind a potential exemption for their drivers. These protesters say they want a similar exemption that allows them to keep working as contractors.