The general consensus from truckers is that Assembly Bill 5 is no good. AB5 is the latest bill from California that builds on the laws from the Supreme Court’s decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc v Superior Court. This decision states that all new hires are employees unless the company can prove they are independent contractors. The process of this isn’t easy and it’s having some unexpected repercussions. The original bill was supposed to help the gig economy with Uber and Lyft ride-share drivers. However, those companies lobbied to exempt themselves. Many white-collar jobs, like doctors and accountants, found exemptions as well in the supreme court. However, truckers, on the other hand, got the short end of the stick. An industry that thrives through independent motor-carriers and contract work is now fighting to survive.
The protests at the Port of Oakland continue. Truckers demand that they will continue these protests until they can meet with Governor Newsom. So far, they have successfully blocked three of the four main cargo terminals. This includes blocking hundreds of unionized dockworkers from entering. The Port of Oakland is the eighth largest port in the country. This protest could not have come at a more inconvenient time for America’s global supply chain. Inflation, soaring gas prices, and unsavory port politics are crippling the supply chain. Truckers still say that if AB5 continues, things will only get worse for America.
Supreme Court Ruling Could Cripple America’s Economy
That’s not a threat either. Truckers and trucking companies alike rely on independent contractors. Truckers enjoy the freedom to haul cargo for the companies with the highest bids. Freight companies enjoy the fact that they don’t have to pay their truckers’ health benefits and other costly employee benefits. All this changes if every independent trucker becomes an employee. Freight companies will have to bear higher expenses by paying employee benefits. Truckers may get health care but significantly lower wages. Worst of all, this will all cost companies a lot of money and less freedom. These costs will translate to more expensive shipments, which in turn raises the prices of everything that these truckers ship. Everything from produce to electronics will get more expensive, and Americans will foot the bill.
Governor Newsome has yet to grant a meeting with the truckers. Unfortunately, his hands are tied after the Supreme Court decision. Even if he wanted to change things, the Supreme Court would have to overrule their own decision. Right before the Supreme Court went on its six-month holiday, it issued a one-sentence response. They appear to be fine with their ruling and have no interest in changing things. They won’t be back in the office until October. At which point, America’s economy may already be broken.