California Freelancers Begin to Organize to Push Back Against "Gig Economy Killer" Bill

FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, a driver displaying Lyft and Uber stickers on his front windshield drops off a customer in downtown Los Angeles. In a big win for labor advocates, the California Supreme Court has limited the ability of businesses to classify workers as independent contractors, which could affect a range of workers in the so-called “sharing economy,” such as Uber and Lyft drivers. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

California’s new “Gig Economy” law continues to have devastating effects on independent contractors. As lawmakers continue to ignore cries for help and jobs continue to fly out of California, the freelancing community is beginning to organize around coalitions aimed at fighting back.

On Monday, union members and people supposedly in favor of AB5 will gather in Sacramento for a “lobby day” with the intention of standing before the legislature and talking about how the bill has “helped” them. It seems like a completely manufactured response led by the author of the bill and grossly unpopular politician Lorena Gonzalez (D-80). The goal is to erase the narrative of those freelancers and artists genuinely hurt by AB5. It isn’t an unfamiliar tactic. In the words of one inside staffer in Sacramento (who wishes to remain anonymous for reasons that should be very obvious), “Every day in Sacramento is lobby day for the unions.”

The task of combatting such money and power seems daunting for a group of people with little organization and a desperate need to be seeking out solutions to the income they lost overnight. However, some feel the attempt to drown out real people who are hurting cannot go unanswered. A coalition of freelancers and writers -of which I am a member – has announced today they will lead an organized online response to union attempts to hijack the real narrative of AB5.

While residents from across the state share their stories of being forced out of work and losing vital income nearly overnight, Lorena Gonzalez (D-80) has been stubbornly and consistently insisting that those stories are manufactured outraged designed to make her and her bill look bad. Over the weekend we received word that the Gonzalez and her lobby will be holding a “Lobby Day” in Sacramento on Monday, February 3rd. They’ll also be using a couple of hashtags to try to get their claims trending. #AB5Works and #DisruptInequality.

In light of this, we feel it is necessary to push back against this narrative. It should not go unchallenged. For the immediate moment our voices are the only real opposition and the only real power we have. That will change in the coming months but for now we must lay the groundwork for our continuing challenges. On Monday, February 3rd beginning at 7a.m. PST we are asking all those opposed to AB5 to join us in a “tweet storm” . ​We will be using their hashtags to counteract any misinformation and to match their tweets with our stories ​. The effort will be led by the Faces of AB5 twitter account (​@AB5of​). It will include graphics you can share on any of your social media pages, and will also be sending out action items throughout the day.

To reiterate: On Monday morning, February 3rd at 7a.m. we are asking all concerned parties to join in a social media “storm” on the hashtags used by Lorena Gonzalez and her lobby. Beginning at 7 a.m. PST look for these hashtags and use them to tell your story. AB5 has a face…thousands, in fact. Now let’s add our voices.

Tell your story at #AB5Works #DisruptInequality #AB5Stories #AB5

#AB5Works Tweet storm Press Release

The California law isn’t just limited to those borders. This week Congress will vote on a federal version of AB5. HR2474 – or The PRO Act – is a bill designed to end the gig economy and right-to-work. It is supported by nearly every Democrat in the House. Californians have been leaving the state in droves in order to escape the oppressive affects of AB5 since January, but soon there may be no escape in any part of the country.