Calif. Gov. Newsom Backs Bill Designed to Ruin Uber, Lyft and Gig Economy
California Gov. Gavin Newsom authored a Labor Day op-ed that let Big Labor know he has their backs and made it clear to businesses that he has little to no concern for their sustainability in the Golden State.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has come out in support of AB-5, legislation that would reclassify many gig economy workers from independent contractors to employees, guaranteeing them labor protections and benefits ― and potentially upending the business models of tech companies like Uber and Lyft.
In an opinion piece in The Sacramento Bee on Monday, which was Labor Day, Newsom said he was “proud to be supporting” Assembly Bill 5, which details the conditions under which a worker should be considered an employee ― and therefore entitled to benefits like a minimum wage, unemployment and disability insurance, and a right to form a union.
That last part is really what this is all about -- artificially propping up Big Labor. He's well-coached in all of the "for the workers" rhetoric, of course:
“Our economy has stopped working for working people ... Corporate profits have gone through the roof while worker pay has remained in the basement,” Newsom wrote in the piece. “Contributing to this imbalance is the misclassification of workers, where companies eager to save on labor costs identify workers as ‘independent contractors’ rather than employees.”
HuffPo notes that "hundreds of Uber and Lyft drivers" were involved in recent protests around California with a group called "Gig Workers Rising."
The article also says that Uber and Lyft have hundreds of thousands of drivers in California.
California politics are overwhelmingly dominated by union money. The California Teachers Association is the most powerful political lobby in the state. Given that, it's not surprising that Newsom is enthusiastically supporting this blatant attempt to create a pathway to quickly mint more union workers.
I am a very frequent user of Lyft and Uber, and I was for the last three years I lived in California. Almost every one of them I've talked to -- and known personally -- loved the gig and had no desire to become a union company person.
I have also been an independent contractor for almost my entire adult life, surrounded by other independent contractors. There is no clamor among us to have the Nanny State step in and help. In fact, it's the government and taxes -- not the people we work for -- that most of us complain about.
Yes, everything I'm sharing here is anecdotal. I would be more inclined to put some stock in this "protest" in California if thousands, rather than hundreds, were involved.
In my many years of political activism, I've encountered -- and infiltrated -- scores of protests by left-wing groups. None of them are organic. All have professional organizers who are funded directly or indirectly by organized labor. That they were able to incentivize a few people to complain isn't surprising. It's also not indicative of anything.
Uber, Lyft, and similar companies have long been targets of states and cities controlled by Democrats because they've upended the taxicab racket. Dems and unions know that they can't compete with the inferior product they were able to get away with under monopolistic conditions, so they want to screw up a functional free-market with government intervention.
All the while pretending that they care about the workers.
Which they don't.
PJ Media Associate Editor Stephen Kruiser is the author of “Don’t Let the Hippies Shower” and “Straight Outta Feelings: Political Zen in the Age of Outrage,” both of which address serious subjects in a humorous way. Monday through Friday he edits PJ Media’s “Morning Briefing.”