After months of heated public debate, it’s about to happen. New Worker laws will put gig workers from that designation to full-time employees. For California trucking businesses that ship everything from summer fruits to car to holiday toys, they say this shift could put their livelihood in danger.
Late Tuesday, California state senators passed the AB5 bill. The legislation in proposal will layout more rigorous standards for deciding which workers will label as independent contractors. Gavin Newsome, the Democratic Governor, has put his support behind the bill, which would kick in on January 1, 2020.
The legislation could negatively impact a chunk of California businesses that are dependent on freelance drivers. Most people associate this group with businesses like Uber and Lyft, but the trucking industry that drives U.S. agriculture and the retail and industrial world is also facing a threat by this bill.
Going to Hit Truck Companies Hard
“It’s going to hit all the trucking firms small and large,” said Joseph Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs for the Western States Trucking Association.
As it stands trucking companies of every variety rely on around 70,000 California independent truck owners to carry loads in the state and all over the country. These worker laws are impacting many. In fact, experts indicate that it’s the small trucking firms that are susceptible to the change brought on by AB5.
“We have a lot of peaks and valleys. It takes all the flexibility away from us,” said Bill Aboudi, whose eight-truck company serves the Port of Oakland.
It’s true that most drivers who haul goods between large cargo ships at the port independent. He argues that if these drivers are now unavailable it could be a devastating complication. Furthermore, he alleges that shifting to a new employee model would not be able to happen instantly.
So what do you all think? What’s the compromise here?