The most prominent of these issues is the highly controversial AB5 (California Assembly Bill 5) that was intended to regulate the gig economy, but has already had a huge number of unintended consequences. Did you know that you can no longer offer your services to a corporation if what you are doing for them is the central focus of their business - or that if you are a freelance writer you can only get paid for 15 articles per month unless you are classified as an employee?
I will be talking to a labor attorney later this afternoon about presenting an overview of the new laws, and have also imitated contacts with a few activists working to get this law repealed, but we will be having this meeting regardless of who leads the discussion. I have posted some draft material for the announcement I will be making below but I may have ranted too much for an event description so many tone it down a bit before publishing.
My own opinion is that these laws are draconian and that they were pushed through by politicians and unions without even taking our opinions or interests into consideration. They got away with it because unlike the unions, self-employed and independent workers are not organized so they didn't need to worry about what we thought. This seems to have attracted a great deal of attention so ironically AB5 may help change that.
It is possible that you may have a different opinion - perhaps you think these laws are important to prevent exploitation of Uber drivers and other gig workers, and if so you are welcome to express that opinion - both in the meeting on Thursday, or right here on this thread. Regardless of our different takes we all may have on this, it is an important discussion to have so I hope you will consider joining us.
San Diego Independent Business Professionals (SDIBP) will be meeting Thursday, November 21st, 1:30 PM at "Charlie's Best Bread" in Pacific Plaza (1808 Garnet between Kendall Street & Lamont Street).
This month's meeting will be a discussion about recent legislation and political developments that affect self-employed professionals. This includes the AB5 (California Assembly Bill 5) that was pushed through the legislature by politicians and unions wanting to regulate gig economy workers and collect payroll taxes on the platforms they use. This law makes it much harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors rather than employees While there are "exceptions" it will almost certainly affect the way many of us work and even the "exceptions" are problematic. For example, freelance writers are now limited to submitting 35 articles a year to any one publication after which they must give up their independent status and become an employee of that publication.
Meanwhile, Uber - the company used as an excuse used to start the whole thing, says they won't comply with the law anyway - that their drivers are already independent contractors not doing work central to the mission of their organization. They have already written their own legislation and are gathering signatures to have it put on the ballet, but all it does is grant them an "exception" - it doesn't grant us any additional rights. Also in the news, the San Diego Police Department has "cracked down" on home-based massage therapists claiming, without evidence, that it intended to curb "sex slave trafficing" in the region. This has been a debate between politicians, unions, corporations and other big moneyed interests. What seems to be missing from all these debates is actual independent professionals - no one ever asked us what we thought of all this.
Clearly we have lots to talk about. While it may be too late to change laws that have already been written we need to learn how to work with them if we can, how to work around them if we have to, and the big question of what exactly it means to be "independent" in this new world being built by politicians, corporations and unions.