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[dupe] California senate passes AB5 gig-work bill, turning contractors into employees (sfchronicle.com)
36 points by HaloZero 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 23 comments

Then what's the difference between a gig worker and a contractor? Is it that a gig worker is essentially a self employed/sole proprietor and not represented by some other LLC/Corp? This sort of makes sense but sort of doesn't. What happens when I hire a plumber, is that plumber suddenly my employee? Can Uber drivers now switch between ride hailing apps?

There's an "ABC" of criteria that needs to be met. In your example, the plumber isn't fulfilling the routine and daily tasks of the business, so he isn't an employee.

However, an Uber driver _is_ fulfilling the routine operations for the ride sharing company, and so is an employee.

The garbage man takes my garbage routinely, do I have to hire him on full time? I'm being absurd, but your criterion of 'fulfilling the routine operations' is not a good test for whether someone should be hired as an employee.

Here's a link that summarises the tests.


This is very similar to the IR35 tests that operate in the UK, although that legislation is primarily used for determining what tax should be applied.

Great to see. These workers have been exploited for way too long.

In NYC for example over 95% of drivers were being paid less than min wage.


Says the official NYC Taxi group

nyctaxi seems not the most objective source in this case.

What are the actual implications of this now with regards to the shared labor pool between Lyft, Uber, Doordash, etc?

I can see the effect being that some drivers who were underperforming (those who were earning effectively below minimum wage) simply won't be able to do it anymore, which again is fine since that means a lucky few can earn minimum wage.

I'm also fine with higher prices as a result of this, I'd just move back to public transit, the way it's supposed to be. But our lawmakers aren't exactly rushing to build that either.

> I can see the effect being that some drivers who were underperforming (those who were earning effectively below minimum wage) simply won't be able to do it anymore, which again is fine since that means a lucky few can earn minimum wage.

Why is that fine? Why do some people not get to work because you decided it's not enough for them?

It’s what we’ve decided is acceptable as a society.

It’s not obvious if you call it “minimum wage” vs say “maximum jobs” (like how we have a cap for doctors). Both achieve the same thing, both are standard policies we’ve adopted.

There is a huge difference between limiting the number of graduate school educated, highly paid professionals for the benefit of society, and limiting the number of subsistence level gig jobs.

In the case of doctors, it's important that we reward professionalism and the hard work necessary so that hard working and smart people find it to be a good career choice. For someone who would have become a doctor if there were no cap but is denied in the current system, they still have a 4 year degree and can pursue another highly educated but less selective profession. Keep in mind, however, that we aren't pretending to do this for the benefit of doctors.

For gig workers, most are doing it because this is their fallback. They may not have another alternative to make money, they may have just lost a job, the industry they work in may be having a down cycle and they are laid off. If they could get another job that paid more they probably would, but this is their last resort. If you take away their freedom to agree to do this work on terms that both sides find acceptable, they just don't have an income. Then you pretend you are doing it for their benefit! Fantastic!

You can't compare the two situations, one is slightly reducing list of career choices of a college graduate at the beginning of their career, the other is taking food out of someone's mouth.

The other large group of gig workers are people who already have a day job and are supplementing their income. Can you come up with some kind of self righteous 'society has chosen' excuse for limiting their freedom to do so?

Finally, saying that the reason that we should pass a law to do something is that 'society has decided' to pass that law is a profoundly lazy argument that justifies literally any law that gets passed. They passed a law to make it mandatory to sing in the shower? Anyone caught not singing in the shower will be fined and possibly imprisoned? This seems wrong, why would we want this law? Oh, right, society has decided that is what is acceptable.

I think you're missing the fact that I'm subtly agreeing with you. The fact that it's easy to make your argument against me is because I've presented it in a way to obviously see how limiting jobs is bad. It's just disguised under normal circumstances.

> Remember that the minimum wage law provides no jobs: it only outlaws them; and outlawed jobs are the inevitable result.

-Murray Rothbard

Cool, so does this mean Apple will let contractors park in the front lot or Google contractors actually get perks???

Usually those contractors are working for another company that Apple or Google hires.

I work for one of the gig economy companies, my opinion is that this is a short term good thing for workers, bad thing for gig companies. But long term, this doesn't matter, as it simply reduces profitability of every company, and creates more incentives to automate, especially if unions start raising cost further.

I don't know the best long term solution is for gig workers, maybe Andrew Yang's freedom dividend will become more appealing.

Question, as someone working in that field, do you think an app that's less of a company more of a collective would work?

Say you pay $29.99/month to use the app + 5% per transaction + any fees for payout from stripe/etc(usually 2.9 + .30).

The app itself would rank drivers AND customers. Drivers app could see customer ratings, customer app could see drivers ratings.

I think for pricing maybe make it bid related and all transparent.

In CA, when you see "vote along party lines", it means some actual good shit got done.

Kind of misleading title - it prevents companies from claiming that their employees are contractors in order to unfairly compete with companies that actually follow employment law.

I think this 'protects workers' in the same way as "right to work" laws 'protect workers', by diminishing the workers rights to enter into contracts and organize on their own terms. In time gig workers would have formed one or more unions and forced companies into negotiations for better wages and benefits. While companies are making a big show of being against this law, it will discourage to the point of eliminating the conditions necessary for the formation of the types of worker organizations that would have allowed them to force companies to give them a significant share of the revenues they are generating.

You might say "well yea, it will improve their lives so they won't have to organize", but finding the minimum pay necessary to avoid unionization is closer to a strategy Uber might attempt than it is a boon for workers in the long run.

> In time gig workers would have formed one or more unions and forced companies into negotiations for better wages and benefits.

That is a heroic assumption. If it's hard to unionize from inside a company, what sort of power does a worker have when they aren't even allowed into the office and can be instantly swapped out by an algorithm?

It would require serious organizing, but keep in mind there were unions formed in mill towns hundreds of years ago, when unions were basically illegal and union busting was encouraged. Mill workers have the advantage of physical proximity to each other, modern gig workers have maybe more of an advantage due to the existence of the internet.

While Uber can replace some fraction of it's workers, it would horribly damaged if 75% of their workers just didn't log in next Friday. If it was made clear that every Friday would be a 'no drivers sign into Uber' day, and instead logged to Lyft to pick up rides, Uber would have no choice but to come to the table, and drivers wouldn't even pass up any work. Unlike the huge capital investment of a mill in 1840, which was impossible to sidestep, Uber's value is basically that people have the app installed and tend to click on it, and by not logging into Uber but still logging into Lyft, the drivers would be putting that at a huge risk. I'm sure there are more and better ideas than this, but the ability to organize worldwide without requiring access to something like paper newspapers which are owned by the same group of people you are trying to organize against is a huge game changer.

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