Senator Tim Scott Nails CA Labor Secy Julie Su to the Wall on the ABC Test and the PRO Act

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

California Labor Secretary Julie Su should not be running an ice cream truck, let alone be a Deputy Secretary of Labor. She allowed 30 billion of fraud to happen on her watch, and was part of the misinformation campaign with the State’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program which costs thousands of unemployed contractors from benefiting from it. We cannot say the same for convicted felons, who benefited richly.

Su is also the enforcement arm for the AB5 law, targeting independent contractors and small businesses for audits and fines that are destroying their ability to live and work.

Why would President Joe Biden nominate someone who is not only a failure at her job, but anti-independent and anti-small business?

Because the PRO Act is one of the goals for Biden’s agenda, and Julie Su will be the heavy who will ensure that once it is passed through the Senate, it will get implemented throughout the nation.

H.R. 842, the so-called “Protecting the Right to Organize” Act is simply California’s AB5 on steroids. As my colleague Brandon Morse wrote:

The PRO Act is being sold to the American people as a piece of legislation that “protects workers’ rights” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It empowers unions that have their own agendas and are mired with corruption. You will effectively be put at the mercy of these unions which are so tied to the Democrat Party that they might as well be synonymous.

Democrats will attempt to push this through the Senate, but it should be made clear to every Senator, both Democrat, and Republican, that the PRO Act needs to die a quick death.

Julie Su will lie, gaslight, do what she needs to do to get confirmed. So I was grateful for the non-threatening, knowledgeable, but penetrating questions asked during Su’s confirmation hearing by South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.

Sen. Scott started with his background not only as an employee, but as an employer and small business owner.

“I’m a person who comes from the small business sector as an employer. I remember growing up as a kid and earning less than the minimum wage, and becoming an employer who understand the importance of paying more than the minimum wage.

“I look at the Labor agenda from the President. First in California, and it really is very concerning to me what the impact of the President’s policies will be on small business owners, but more importantly, small business employees, and independent contractors.

“Having been an independent contractor myself for 7 years of my professional life, I will say without any question is that some of the things I enjoyed about an independent contractor is the ability to have a flexible work schedule, when I come in and when I go out.

“One of the things that stands in the way of that is the ABC Test in California. It seems like if you are a champion of small business, and understand the importance of independent contractors, your position as a champion—not just an enforcer—but a champion, a vocal champion of the ABC Test, it is in stark contrast to what so many independent contractors wanted.”

Su, along with Governor Gavin Newsom, and California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-Chula Vista) watched as independent contractors lost their livelihoods and the flexibility they enjoyed, because of that very same ABC Test embedded into the AB5 law. When California independent professionals could have been working during the Newsom’s lockdowns, we were restricted from doing so because of AB5. Despite our cries and appeals for him to suspend the law with his emergency powers, we were dismissed and ignored. Su and her EDD team were tasked with targeting any contractors and small businesses who violated the AB5 law with retroactive enforcement that could go back four years from the date the law was implemented.

So, Sen. Scott was right to point out the dichotomy (I would say blatant disregard) of what Su championed and then implemented and what independent professionals actually wanted and needed.

Sen. Scott continued:

“If you apply that test nationally, as President Biden said he is committed to doing, you would forcefully reclassify as many as half of all independent contractors, if not more, and jeopardize more than 85 percent of our nation’s GDP.

“The ABC Test would destroy many of these independent jobs and kill the flexibility and the autonomy for many of the rest of those jobs. In addition to hiking consumer prices. Despite the fact that more than 9 out of 10 independent contractors say they actually like and prefer their status.”

This is a point that the Unions, Su, and Asm. Gonzalez want to ignore. These entities have painted independent contractors as some form of misclassified and victimized group, when the majority of us choose to be independent and have no desire to see that change. The Unions’ power will continue to diminish if people are not forced to be under their umbrella. Their goal is to eliminate the model altogether, thereby eroding any resistance to enforced bargaining or unionization.

Sen. Scott did an excellent wind up, before delivering his pitch.

“So, Secretary Sue, you’ve called California’s ABC Test law, “An important step to protect honest (I’m not sure what that means) businesses.”

“Californians disagree, that they voted by a nearly 17 point margin last year to exclude app based drivers from this new test, and lawmakers scrambled to include roughly 100 carve outs in the law. Have these developments caused you to rethink your outspoken support for the ABC Test and should we be concerned that you will look to nationalize this very unpopular standard?”

Su started spouting the same Union blather that AB5 opponents have heard for the past two years. How she has met with so-called independents like barbers and janitorial contractors who say the misclassification in their business prevents them from being able to compete.

“I don’t think there is an inherent conflict between flexibility and worker protections, Su said. “I think that there can and often has been both. And we’ve certainly seen that through the pandemic, right? We’ve seen employers in large numbers move to more flexible work arrangements that they didn’t think possible.”

I am still amazed Su allowed this to come out of her mouth, since between Newsom’s blatant disregard and ignorance, and the EDD’s craven malfeasance, they did everything they could to prevent California independent contractors and freelancers from being able to work and earn money during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Then, Su made an attempt to pander to Sen. Scott:

“What I would be really interested in working with you on, if confirmed, is looking at how we think about flexibility and innovation.”

Yeah, right. If Su is confirmed, she will impose the Union ideals that will look nothing like innovation or flexibility. Her work in California proved she is a good soldier and that she does her master’s bidding.

Sen. Scott dug deeper on two points: a) that government placing mandates on the private sector always destroys the private sector, and b) independent contractors remain insistent on keeping their status that allows them autonomy to be able to pick and choose how they want to work.

Sen. Scott then landed this boom:

“You can cherry pick all you want, but the truth of the matter is a simple truth, which is that if 90 percent of those folks in California disagree with your position, I can assure that the nation as a whole will see that ABC Test as anathema to progress in our nation as it relates to small businesses and frankly, independent contractors who want to divide their time any way they like.”

Here is the portion of Sen. Scott’s question and Secy. Su’s remarks.

Sen. Scott, as do many of us, knows that the PRO Act will destroy independent contractors and small businesses, and give carte blanche for the Unions and their agenda to overrun all aspects of employment and labor.

Americans for Prosperity reviewed a Clubhouse town hall sponsored by Stand Together on the effect the PRO Act will have on the livelihood of independent professionals, and especially women and minorities.

Stand Together Director of Economic Opportunity Erica Jedynak hosted the event, which considered the impact the legislation would have on independent contractors.

Jedynak said the bill puts at risk the livelihoods of the country’s 59 million independent contractors — a group that makes up about 36 percent of the U.S. workforce. According to a 2019 Internal Revenue Service report, “women have driven much of the overall growth” in the independent contracting workforce in recent years.

According to the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), one in five jobs in America is held by an independent contractor, and nearly half (46 percent) of independent contractors are female. Sixty-one percent of women prefer the flexibility of independent contracting to the benefits of employment.

I have worked with IWF in their “Chasing Work” series that illuminated the destruction of AB5 in California and foreshadowed the PRO Act before it was passed through Congress last week.

For Jennifer O’Connell, an independent contractor based in California, the state’s AB5 law (which is codified in the PRO Act) “prevents her from bringing in income by restricting the companies she can work for,” writes IWF. A writer and yoga instructor, O’Connell tells IWF that AB5 keeps people from “having vocational and economic freedom. They want you chained to the union. They want to make everyone a class of workers tied to the system.”

If you read the entire PRO Act, you will see exactly how the Unions plan to do this. The Institute for the American Worker does a good job of outlining its points here.

You don’t have to be an independent contractor or a small business owners to be concerned about the effects of this craftily contrived legislation. It was rammed through the House for a reason, and it must be killed in the Senate. I urge every American to contact your Senator and urge them to vote “NO” on the PRO Act.