Democrats Will Actually Have to Pay Campaign Workers Following the Passage of AB 5

AB 5 has gained national attention for being an absolute trainwreck of a “gig economy” bill, tearing away the flexibility of freelance workers in one fell swoop. Though it made a couple of exceptions for certain industries, AB 5 neglected to make one particular organization exempt: the very political party that pushed its passage.

Clearly, Gavin Newsom didn’t think this one through.

The ABC test that AB 5 establishes explains that in order to avoid being considered an employee, individuals must:

  1. Be free of the hirer’s control
  2. Do work outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business
  3. Be established in a trade similar to the one being performed

By this very definition, campaign workers would have to be considered employees, as they are 

  1. Under the control of their campaigns 
  2. Working for campaigns outside the usual course of political business
  3. Very often not established in trades similar to politics (since they’re students, part-time employees, or retired)

The definition of temporary campaign workers as employees complicates the hiring process. It leads to increased taxes and payroll services, surcharges through hiring agencies, and other unforeseen financial consequences. In short, it’s going to cost the Democratic Party money, and they’re not going to like it.

AB 5’s impacts will continue to be felt by gig workers across California, but their complaints won’t be heard by those in charge of the legislation our state relies on. As the bill continues to wreak havoc throughout California, voters can only hope that the Democrats who passed AB 5 will realize just how awful its ramifications are.


Photo by Pepi Stojanovski