The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has made its decision in California Trucking Association v. Becerra and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Sadly, it is yet another horrible blow against the California independent professional and the independent trucking industry.
An injunction that stopped the California trucking industry from coming under AB5, the state’s law governing the use of independent contractors, has been overturned.
A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in a 2-1 vote, handed down its decision Wednesday after hearing oral arguments back in early September.
In his dissent, Judge Mark Bennett summed up the impact of the appellate court’s decision in language that the California trucking sector has been dreading for many months in the case originally brought by the California Trucking Association.
“California will now be free to enforce its preempted law,” Bennett said. “CTA’s members will now suffer irreparable injury. And the damage to the policies mandated by Congress will likely be profound.”
California was fortunate that this lawsuit did not receive a final ruling in the midst of the 2020 pandemic. If it had, the run on toilet paper and grocery resupplies would have been severely affected. Now, Californians can look forward to higher food prices because of all those “union” rates and protections being tacked on, as well as the limited supply of highly skilled truckers. Don’t be surprised if more grocery chains start to shutter their stores, as we saw with the well-intentioned and poorly thought out “Hero pay” for grocery store workers. Kroger decided that it was better for their bottom line to close stores in Los Angeles and Long Beach than it was to give an extra stipend to store workers. And so it goes.
Hardest hit: construction. Expect it to become more expensive, and move at an even more glacial pace.
As I wrote early last year:
If any profession represents the independent spirit, grit, and ingenuity that helped forge America, it is that of the Trucker. Truckers are the American Dream personified, and are representative of the family business and passing down a legacy. But today, California truckers are engaged in a pitched battle against the state’s AB5 law, a piece of legislation that threatens to do away with their way of life.
One NorCal trucker* explained how this works.
“My dad was in the trucking business. He grew up in dairy, and I subbed under him for 15 years, then I started my own thing. We doubled in size via a network of other truckers.
“It’s all I’ve ever known, and I’m good at it. It’s good getting out there and to be a part of that. To say 10 years from now, that I did that. There’s also good money in it.”
So it is no surprise that Big Labor’s AB5 law has targeted this profession for a takeover. As the saying goes, Follow the money.
The Teamsters have become more enriched, while a generation of independent truckers have been decimated.
Good job, Governor Gavin Newsom.