Democrats in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Washington are now taking up the mantle, seeking to destroy more careers of people who don’t need protecting and don’t want this government interference.
A report by New Jersey Democratic governor Phil Murphy points to a real societal problem, “Misclassification ... can be attributable to the “fissured workplace,” where firms distribute activities through an extensive network of contracting, outsourcing, franchising, and ownership in an effort to limit legal exposure and increase profits; and is marked by declining wages, eroding benefits, inadequate health and safety conditions, and ever-widening income inequality.”
If California’s law and those being proposed nationally surgically focused on those issues, that’d be fine. If existing law was used to address those issues, that’d be fine too! Better, actually. Just empower your state labor regulators to start enforcement right now. But new legislation that makes a show of addressing these issues while sweeping up millions of freelancers who don’t need or want such protections, is asinine and counterproductive.
California will have to amend its law, and efforts to do so are underway. It would behoove Democrats in other states to step back and let California figure out a way out of this mess, and let the courts weigh in, before it decides to join in, destroying the livelihoods of creative class people that, it so happens, also happen to be a strong Democratic constituency.
It’s not an either-or situation. We can help workers truly exploited by the gig economy, while letting people who want to freelance continue to ply their professional wares. That’s where the focus should be, not on copying a flawed and dangerous California law.