AB 5 has been a cancer to California’s independent contractors and small businesses. Since its passage, the consequences have spread across the state—and as of recently, the nation. That’s right, much to the chagrin of California’s small business owners, AB 5 has made it to Congress.
Under the moniker of the “Protecting the Right to Organize Act” (PRO Act for short), the federal version of AB 5, HR 2474, passed in the House 224-194. It’s no secret whose interests the PRO Act furthers, as the union-backed bill heavily limits independent contractors while pushing for many to be reclassified as “employees.” Underlying the PRO Act is the tried-and-terrible “ABC Test,” which has already been implemented in California with an embarrassing lack of clarity.
The line between independent contractors and employees shouldn’t be as blurry as this test makes it. Lawmakers have grappled with ways to rectify its biggest problems since day one, but Democrats refuse to entertain any solution and insist on doubling down. If it doesn’t even work here in California, why was the House so eager to bring AB 5 to the national level?
It all boils down to the Democrats prioritizing labor union interests over independent workers, despite the fact that many tout their support of flexibility in the workforce. Though the PRO Act managed to pass the House, small business owners and contractors alike can rest assured that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will stop the bill right in its tracks. Just like the Democratic ambitions of the Green New Deal, Medicare-for-All, reparations for slavery, student loan forgiveness, and so on, “Cocaine Mitch” has never failed at what he does best.
However, it’s important to remain vigilant in this fight. If AB 5 can masquerade under the guise of “worker protections,” many other terrible bills can hide under widely-approved titles as well. Voters should make sure to pay close attention to the legislation they’re faced with this upcoming cycle, to help prevent another AB 5-level disaster from hitting California full force. Until then, all we can do is grab our popcorn and watch Cocaine Mitch destroy the national version of California’s greatest vice.