Millions May Lose Right to Self-Employment 

A.B.5, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019
California’s Big Labor-concocted A.B.5, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019, made it almost impossible for workers and firms to bounce back after 2020’s COVID-19 lockdowns. Now Biden bureaucrats want to federalize A.B.5! (Credit: Governor of California / Wikimedia Commons)

Unconfirmed Biden Labor Secretary Targets America’s Freelancers

By the time this Newsletter edition is mailed out in mid-March, new bureaucratically-concocted regulations that may effectively bar millions of Americans from working as independent contractors are expected to be in effect over the protests of National Right to Work Committee members and other freedom-loving citizens.

These regulations were implemented under the direction of President Joe Biden’s handpicked acting labor secretary, Julie Su. Ms. Su’s support for forced unionism is so radical that, even though Mr. Biden first nominated her to head his Department of Labor in February 2023, she has yet to be confirmed by the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.

And the clear aim of Ms. Su’s lawless redefinition of the term “independent contractor” is to shove as many as possible of the up to 70 million people across the country who perform freelance work into payroll jobs so they can be forced into paying union dues on pain of termination.

Many California Firms Have Simply Terminated Their Dealings With Contractors

“Ride-share drivers, independent truckers, and other freelance workers across America have ample reason to fear the worst from Julie Su,” said National Right to Work Committee Vice President Matthew Leen.

“Before moving inside the D.C. Beltway, Ms. Su spent two-and-a-half years displaying her contempt for the individual worker’s freedom of choice in her tenure as secretary of the California labor department.

“In that capacity, Ms. Su led a no-holds-barred campaign to enforce California’s constitutionally dubious, pro-forced unionism A.B.5 law, a state-level scheme to reclassify independent contractors as traditional employees.

“Ms. Su and other A.B.5 enthusiasts claim contractors would prefer to be classified as payroll workers. But when actual contractors have been surveyed about the matter, they’ve repeatedly told pollsters in overwhelming numbers they prefer to be independent.”

As a recent analysis of this statute by the nonpartisan, Virginia-based Mercatus Center shows, rather than turn independent contractors into payroll employees, as A.B.5’s sponsors predicted, A.B.5 prompted many businesses to end their relationships with contractors. 

In many other cases, the professional relationship ended because the contractors did not want to become employees, and chose to exit the workforce instead.

In the wake of A.B.5, “self-employment in California fell” by 10.5% and “overall employment tumbled” by 4.4%, as Reason reporter Eric Boehm wrote in a January 18 article summarizing Mercatus’ findings.

Independent-Contract Jobs Nationwide Now in Jeopardy

It seems obvious that the implementation of A.B.5 beginning in January 2020 is a key reason why California’s labor markets, unlike those in the vast majority of other states, have yet to recover fully from early 2020’s COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Nevertheless, Ms. Su and other Biden bureaucrats remain determined to federalize this failed experiment!

Barring a last-minute intervention by the federal judiciary, before this Newsletter reaches its readers, the Biden Labor Department’s new “independent contractor” rule will already be making it much more difficult for companies to treat workers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Based on A.B.5’s dismal track record, seven million or more independent contractor jobs across the country could disappear if the Su edict stands.

“With more than four years of sad A.B.5 experience having confirmed that this misbegotten power grab destroys independent-contractor jobs without providing any satisfactory alternative, one has to ask if Ms. Su and Mr. Biden’s actual intent is to wipe out jobs if they can’t be unionized,” said Mr. Leen.

“Of course, the Committee and its members are fighting back.

“In the 2023-24 Congress, the Committee’s legislative staff has teamed up with other foes of Big Labor excesses to block the confirmation of Julie Su as permanent labor secretary. 

“We have so far succeeded, but since President Biden renominated Ms. Su for this job in January, the fight goes on. 

Blocking Ms. Su’s Cabinet confirmation makes all of her power grabs more vulnerable to legal challenges.

“Meanwhile, the Committee and its members are also strongly supportive of all credible congressional efforts to stop the Biden Labor Department from abusing its authority in order to expand union bosses’ coercive power over workers.

“For example, Committee officers are encouraging every House member to support soon-to-be-introduced legislation sponsored by Rep. Kevin Kiley [R-Calif.]that would overturn Julie Su’s radical redefinition of ‘independent contractor’ and protect the freedom of tens of millions of Americans to earn income without being forced to become a payroll employee.

“Committee officers are also encouraging senators to sign on to a parallel measure that Sen. Bill Cassidy [R-La.] will be introducing in their chamber.”

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

To support our cause and help end forced unionism, go here to donate.

NRTW Home » News » Millions May Lose Right to Self-Employment