Oh, Lorena, Lorena.
California Asm. Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) authored the terrible anti-liberty bill, AB5, that effectively outlaws any kind of independent contracting. Tens of thousands of Californians have either seen all of their income immediately dry up or severely decrease as companies instead opt to contract with people in the 49 states where it’s not such a risky proposition for them to do business.
As we covered previously, when confronted by Californians who have been severely harmed by her legislation, Gonzalez has displayed a condescending, communistic, “let them eat cake because it’s for the good of the collective” attitude. Though she’s been dragged on social media for nearly a month now, her “performance” during an interview on San Diego’s KUSI Friday night showed that she learned absolutely nothing from the experience.
By watching the video (which is a popcorn-worthy cringey trainwreck) it’s obvious her media coaches have been working hard. She’s got her talking points down, attempts a soothing voice, and smiles a lot. A lot. But she can’t quite hold it together.
Based on accounts of eyewitnesses in the station who were there with other interviewees that night, the atmosphere was extremely tense from the moment Gonzalez and her handlers entered the station. KUSI has been giving voice to a number of freelancers from various industries who have been harmed by AB5. Princess Lorena wasn’t too happy about that, resulting in a petulant outburst near the beginning of the 20-minute-long interview.
She started off by calling the interviewers liars after they introduced the story by saying they’d heard from thousands of people who had lost their “jobs” (contracts, really).
There is no indication..there is absolutely no data or indication to suggest that thousands of people have been put out of work. you did start with false information. There aren’t thousands of people out of work.
Well, come on, Lorena. We know without a doubt that as of December 17, 2019, 200 freelancers at Vox Media lost their contracts. The harm only spread from there. Millions of Californians are either part-time or full-time freelancers, so it’s not at all unbelievable that thousands of people had been put out of work.
From there Gonzalez tried to go through her rehearsed talking points but was interrupted by the anchors, who said they’d heard her reasoning and justifications but wanted to hear what she had to say in light of the stories of lives and careers in chaos. Gonzalez replied with a snippy:
Well, you really haven’t. I mean, You’ve had like 12 people on without actually having the other side…
Watch that exchange here (the video covers the entire interview, but has been set to begin at the relevant portion):
Throughout the interview Gonzalez said over and over that freelancers can still be “sole proprietors,” and that it wasn’t her fault if they couldn’t read that plain language. Perhaps it’s the qualifications that they be a “legitimate small business” or “actually operating as a small business.”
AB5 allows for legitimate small business, even sole proprietors, to operate as such. They’re able to do so if they’re actually operating as a small business. What it doesn’t do is allow is a company to have permalancers, people who are freelancing for them, working the same way as an employee would work, but without the benefits of an employee status.
How does Gonzalez define a “legitimate small business”? It’s so simple!
Again, if you are a freelancer & operate as your own business, #AB5 did not change the misclassification test that is applied to you, as long as you can demonstrate the following… pic.twitter.com/1mMJ68TxXW
— Lorena (@LorenaSGonzalez) January 4, 2020
She was then asked, what do you have to say to those independent contractors who are “losing their jobs”?
First of all, it wasn’t a job. These aren’t jobs. These are freelance positions that may be three hours a month and it may be 300 hours a month.
Sure, let’s quibble about whether it’s a job or a freelance position or contract. The bottom line is that they lost the opportunity to exchange their services for remuneration, and that hurts them and their families. Besides, peon freelance writers, Lorena made it easy for you. You can still do what you’re doing; “you just have to actually be a small business.”
If you want the opportunity to be an independent business, AB5 allows for that. You can be a sole proprietor. You can work as many times as you want for any organization. You just have to actually be a small business. What this said is that if a company wants to use one individual over and over and over again and still not give them the benefits of a minimum wage, overtime…
The benefits of a minimum wage? Freelance professionals – we’re not talking about Uber or Lyft drivers here, but licensed translators or interpreters, writers who sometimes have masters or doctorate degrees – are not going to “benefit” from a minimum wage since we are already paid much more than that. Overtime? Many freelance professionals already charge a premium to their clients when they work on holidays, evenings, weekends, or for more than 8 hours in a day. Some get bonuses based on production. Newsflash, Asm. Gonzalez – they didn’t need YOU or a union to negotiate that! They did it all by themselves.
Gonzalez somehow has a problem with writers “working for” just one organization.
If you are a small business and a true independent business as a freelancer, you don’t have a limit. You can contract with as many different publishers as many times as you want throughout the year. What we said is if you’re not, that if you’re truly just working for one organization, that you have to limit that.
Why?? Taking the example of either a military mom or a mom who’s at home with her small children, if she’s found one organization at which she places her articles consistently and that works for her and that works for the organization, why is it Lorena’s business to limit that? All that does is limit what that parent can contribute to the household, perhaps limits their ability to have a family vacation, to save up for a new home, or even to have the necessities.
But it doesn’t matter, because sacrifices need to be made to benefit *all* workers. (/Sarcasm)
And here is the truth – it’s about the unions.
— Lorena (@LorenaSGonzalez) January 11, 2020
She was quite open about the purpose in this long-winded section of the transcript. She attempts to do what she does best, divide and conquer, casting companies who do what she approves of as “doing the right thing” and others as exploitative. Read the entire section, though, and it’s very clear what the bottom line on AB5 is.
“Most corporations and most businesses abide by the law. They hire employees…that means that employee has certain rights. They have the right to social security, which independent contractors don’t. When a company doesn’t actually hire somebody as an employee, they’re skirting their responsibilities of contributing to their Social Security. They have the right to at least minimum wage and overtime, workers compensation, paid family leave, sick days.
“So when a company says they don’t want to take that on, the best they can do is contract with a business. That means nobody’s getting hired and fired. It’s a vendor relationship. And if you have the ability to have that vendor relationship, great. But if we just said any person could come along and say, it’s okay to treat me differently as an employee. It’s okay to hire me and not pay me minimum wage or overtime. It’s okay to not have to contribute to my Social Security, that becomes the standard for all of us. And that means none of us will have a job that actually pays into those things. That means no employer would be responsible for that, because they could say we’re just gonna hire people who don’t care if we give them these protections. The State is here to provide protections. Labor laws apply to ensure that all of us have something there.”
Why can’t people or companies opt out?
“What we don’t allow is companies to say we will only hire people who are willing to give up their protections for minimum wage, for overtime. Let’s take it way back, right? This is labor law in the United States in general. We don’t allow people to say, ‘I have a 12 year old who wants to work. It’s their choice. Go ahead and let them work.’ We don’t allow that because then it’s a race to the bottom. We want to ensure that it’s a level playing field and that businesses who do the right thing aren’t put at a competitive disadvantage.
Yeah, because people who want to exercise their own rights are just like 12-year-olds who are being pimped by their parents. She continued:
“If you allow a company to opt out, when companies have to compete against them, that’s unfair competition for the companies that are doing the right thing and abiding by state law.“
The last line says it all. The unions believe anyone who wants to be innovative and creative and competitive is a threat to their existence (and they’re not wrong) and they have paid Lorena Gonzalez off, to the tune of more than $350,000 in just one election cycle, to have the state enforce their desired outcome.
Both Lorena Gonzalez and AB5 must be repealed and replaced.