The Young Turks: New Law Could DESTROY Independent Music

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwpx-8Rl7lM

 

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

California Wedding Industry Turned ‘On Top of Its Head’ by Freelancing Law

https://www.theepochtimes.com/california-wedding-industry-turned-on-top-of-its-head-by-freelancing-law_3222935.html

California Wedding Industry Turned ‘On Top of Its Head’ by Freelancing Law

By Jamie Joseph

January 31, 2020

TEMECULA, Calif.—Temecula-based destination wedding and event planner Michelle Garibay has run her business for the past 14 years without employees. Garibay has appeared in some of the nation’s most prestigious bridal magazines, including Style Me Pretty, The Knot, and Southern California Bride.

However, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) has impeded her latest business operations, along with many others in her industry who use independent contractors. AB5 essentially prohibits freelance work, with a few exceptions; it mandates that businesses hire employees instead of paying contractors.

“This industry isn’t well suited to having employees, because the work isn’t steady,” Garibay said. “And the contractors I have working for me have their own businesses as well, and they’re moms with kids—they left full-time employment to be able to have the freedom to work as a contractor.”

In effect since Jan. 1, AB5 was passed by lawmakers in September to clarify a 2018 case, Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Lawmakers intended for the bill to protect employees from companies that label them as independent contractors to avoid giving them the benefits due to employees.

But the bill has had a collateral effect on small business owners and independent freelancers who have made this business model their livelihood.

“A lot of the businesses in the wedding industry are women-owned,” Garibay said. “This is a female-dominated industry, so it takes away our freedom. It really does negatively impact the women in the workforce who want the freedom to work at home and be with their families.”

The law was originally backed by unionized gig-economy workers, such as those working for ride-share companies Uber and Lyft. One of the main writers of the bill, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has received both praise and criticism for the bill.

“I’m sorry you feel that way. This is not a bad bill. Without it there would be no ability to freelancers to work under Dynamex. Also, thousands of workers would not have the protections they need. You want changes, that doesn’t mean the bill is bad.”

— Lorena (@LorenaSGonzalez) December 13, 2019

Due to the outcry and lawsuits from business owners and contractors in various industries, lawmakers are scrambling to write in exemptions. Earlier this month, Governor Gavin Newsom allotted $20 million in his proposed 2020 budget to enforce AB5.

Like many freelance-dominated industries, the wedding industry does not have a traditional work schedule.

Owners of small-scale wedding businesses hire contractors based on each wedding’s specific needs, Garibay said. It depends on the scale of the event. Both Garibay and her freelance workers are uninterested in forging a permanent employment contract, since those workers also have their own businesses.

When Garibay first heard about the bill, her reaction was to think about her team and “how unwelcoming this news would be.”

“They don’t want to be employees, they left full time jobs to do what they do now,” Garibay said.

Regarding the business owners who will have to hire their contractors as employees, Garibay said, “My heart goes out to those people who are going to be forced to bring in so much more [money] in order to pay the taxes that full employment requires.”

Small business owners in California already pay a lot of tax, and they will have to pay more to cover a portion of their employees’ taxes if they hire their freelancers.

California imposes both business and personal income taxes on small business owners who establish limited liability companies (LLCs), creating a double taxation on pass-through net income and the business itself.

Virtually all businesses in California are subject to at least one of three state income taxes on businesses: a corporate tax, a franchise tax, and an alternative minimum tax. Sometimes, small businesses are subject to all three.

To pay all these taxes, plus the added costs of hiring freelancers as employees, small business owners would have to increase their prices, Garibay said.

“This state is not very small-business friendly,” she said. “This is our main source of income to put food on the table for our families. It’s really cost-prohibitive when the state starts demanding that we now hire these people as employees because it’s going to completely throw this industry on top of its head.”

According to attorney Braden Drake, there’s an exception for business-to-business relationships within AB5 and there will likely be more exceptions carved out in coming months. However, in the wedding business freelancers who own their own businesses would not be exempted; they are hired for one day by the couple getting married, rather than another business.

Drake is working with small business owners to help them navigate the future of their businesses with AB5 in mind. “I’m trying to guide those business owners on how to meet those exceptions,” Drake said.

“We don’t know yet if they are going to enforce the law on California businesses who start hiring contractors outside of California,” Drake said. “What could happen is businesses could decide to relocate outside of California.”

Conversely, there are businesses in other states who are now refusing to work with freelancers in California, Drake said.

Small business owner Carla Kayes, a wedding and event florist in Riverside County—who has also been in the wedding industry for 14 years—is concerned about the industry’s future. Kayes has three part-time employees, but often hires freelance florists for high-end gigs, and said she was “sick to her stomach” when she first heard about the bill.

AB5 is “very unsustainable for my business,” Kayes said. “It’s kind of wiped out a whole industry of people here, and now people are hiring from out of state to get around it. The people that are in the state aren’t working. Literally everyone I know who is in wedding and events, they have to use freelancers consistently. It affects everyone.”

The freelancers Kayes hires “have their own floral businesses as well and fill in with work when they don’t have their own client bookings,” she said.

She plans to convert one of her freelance workers into a full-time employee, but can’t afford to convert more than one. Luxury wedding florists in Orange County, San Francisco, and more affluent cities who have to raise their prices to cover employee costs, presumably won’t experience a major negative impact, Kayes said.

“But for someone like me, who lives in Temecula, people are going to look at my work and say, ‘Oh, I can’t afford that,’” she said. “I think the lawmakers were completely unaware. I completely get the Dynamex case, and I think the employees winning that case were right, but I don’t think the lawmakers even knew how many industries would be affected.”

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

California’s AB 5 kills off 40-year Lake Tahoe Music Festival

https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/californias-ab-5-kills-off-40-year-lake-tahoe-music-festival/

California’s AB 5 kills off 40-year Lake Tahoe Music Festival

Another casualty in the quest to ‘save’ workers from ‘misclassification’

By Katy Grimes

March 1, 2020

California’s AB 5 has taken another life: The new law has now killed off the 40-year old Lake Tahoe Music Festival.

“After 40+ years of classical music concerts offered outside with family and friends, the Lake Tahoe Music Festival will call a wrap to our summer festival with two performances in August of 2020,” the official festival website says. The Festival also posted the announcement on their Facebook page.

Assembly Bill 5 by former labor leader Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), has already significantly limited Californians’ ability to work as independent contractors and freelancers. It was revealed during Senate debate in September that the AFL-CIO wrote AB 5.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that AB 5 has already affected more than 1 million independent contractor and freelance working Californians.

Gonzalez can now add one more casualty to the growing list of 300+ industries impacted by the new law.

The Lake Tahoe Music Festival explained their decision:

New CA employment law AB-5 requirements add to the challenge of meeting our financial goals and create the final stressor on our small non-profit organization. For several years we have experienced the same slowly eroding philanthropic support of cultural life faced by other small arts organizations in our state. We now join many who also face increased uncertainty regarding employment costs and infrastructure needs associated with AB-5. So we will bring our festival to a close with pride in our long-time contribution to community life in North Tahoe and Truckee.

How is this “protecting” workers?

The new law, effective January 1, 2020, was passed under the guise of protecting “misclassified” employees. Instead, the law has caused thousands of freelance journalists, musicians, actors, Uber and Lyft drivers, and  millions of gig workers, to suddenly find themselves out of work.

Gonzalez and Democrats who supported AB 5 say the “unintended” consequences of the law now need legislative fixes. But that’s bunk. California Globe attended the legislative committee hearings on AB 5, and witnessed how lawmakers were warned over and over by hundreds of freelance and independent contractors of the consequences.

But California’s Democrats’ devotion to Big Labor Unions always wins.

While Gonzalez has finally reluctantly acknowledged that freelance journalists and photographers will get an exemption from AB 5 and its randomly chosen 35 freelance articles per year, there are now more than 30 bills in the Legislature changing or removing aspects of the law — at what cost? This was totally unnecessary.

Most recently, AB 1850, authored by AB 5 backer Assemblywoman Gonzalez, would exempt freelance and independent contractor writers and photographers and remove the controversial ’35 content submissions a year’ rule, California Globe reported. Assemblywoman Gonzalez and other lawmakers had been considering such changes since December of last year, before AB 5 was even law. So they knew this was a disaster-in-waiting.

Thursday morning, the the California Assembly rejected a motion by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) to suspend AB 5 while corrective legislation is under consideration. Kiley’s Assembly Bill 1928 is an urgency measure to repeal AB 5 and would return the legal standard for independent contracting to what it was for decades before AB 5 and the Dynamex decision. Kiley proposed the Legislature suspend those recent changes pending further legislative consideration, but his bill was voted down by Democrats.

March 17, 2020. Tags: , , , , , . Unions. Leave a comment.

Vox Media is run by hypocrites. They praised California Assembly Bill 5 for allegedly making workers better off, but later laid off hundreds of their own writers in response to the very same law.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/19/how-law-aimed-uber-lyft-is-hurting-freelance-writers

How a law aimed at Uber and Lyft is hurting freelance writers

December 19, 2019

In September, the left-leaning media website Vox.com ran a triumphant headline about a bill that had just passed the California legislature: “Gig workers’ win in California is a victory for workers everywhere.” Assembly Bill 5, or AB5, would go into effect on Jan. 1, essentially making the gig economy illegal in the state.

AB5 forbids businesses to use contractors unless the companies can pass a stringent requirement known as the “ABC test.” It’s designed to ensure that all workers are classified as employees unless they perform their work independent of supervision, have an established business doing the same sort of work for multiple customers and are doing work that isn’t part of the company’s core business. Meeting one or two of these requirements isn’t enough; you must meet all three.

At the time of AB5’s passage, I noted that its aim was a mite quixotic, given that its primary targets, such as Uber and Lyft, were still unprofitable. If they couldn’t make a profit using drivers as contractors, it was hard to see how they could afford to turn the drivers into staffers with regular schedules, hourly pay and benefits. AB5 seemed more likely to drive these firms out of the state, taking their part-time jobs and their useful services with them. And not just gig-economy companies; in passing, I also noted that AB5 seemed to ban most freelance journalism.

It turned out to be a bit more complicated than that; the legislature had actually created a special exception for journalists, allowing them to write 35 articles annually before they’d be considered employees. That still seemed unworkable to this journalist, and should have to anyone who’s ever been near a newsroom — the law would, for example, make it illegal to use a UCLA professor as a weekly columnist without taking on the prof as an employee.

You can guess what’s coming next, can’t you? With Jan. 1 approaching, Vox Media, parent company of Vox.com, just announced that it will be laying off hundreds of freelancers in California. I mentioned my September remarks above not as a tiresome “I told you so” but to note that the effect on freelance writers isn’t some unanticipated side effect of the law. It was the predictable result of trying to force companies into a 9-to-5 employment model. That model just doesn’t fit a lot of businesses, including the business of those journalists who were inexplicably cheering AB5 — or worse, explaining to freelancers, from the safety of a staff job, that actually the law was good for them.

December 21, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.

California is trying to put freelance journalists out of business

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/california-freelance-journalists-sue-over-204250896.html

California freelance journalists sue over new state law

December 17, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Freelance writers and photographers on Tuesday filed the second legal challenge to a broad new California labor law that they say could put some independent journalists out of business.

The law taking effect Jan. 1 aims to give wage and benefit protections to people who work as independent contractors. While the public focus has been largely on ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft, the lawsuit brought by the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the National Press Photographers Association says the law would unconstitutionally affect free speech and the media.

The lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation challenged what it calls an “irrational and arbitrary” limit of 35 submissions each year to each media outlet.

That has “thrown our community into a panic, given that in the year 2020 digital media is a whole different beast than newspapers and journalism of the past,” said Los Angeles-based writer Maressa Brown, who founded California Freelance Writers United in September.

“You could hit 35 (submissions) in a matter of a few weeks, and we don’t feel that should require us submitting a W2, sitting in an office and tethered to a computer and under the oversight of one client,” said Brown, who likes having up to 15 clients at one time. “People are losing clients, income. Their livelihoods are under threat.”

The law establishes the nation’s strictest test for which workers must be considered employees and could set a precedent for other states.

The lawsuit says the freelance restriction draws “unconstitutional content-based distinctions about who can freelance,” noting that “the government faces a heavy burden of justification when its regulations single out the press.”

The Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit libertarian group, filed it in federal court in Los Angeles.

“First, it was the Endangered Species Act, then women on corporate boards, and now the Pacific Legal Foundation is attacking California’s landmark workplace rights law. That should come as no surprise to anyone,” the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, said in a statement.

The two associations together have more than 650 members in California. Their lawsuit asks a judge to invalidate the portion of the law that would affect them.

The lawsuit was filed the day after the digital sports media company SB Nation, owned by Vox Media, announced that it would end its use of more than 200 California freelancers, switching instead to using a much smaller number of new employees.

The California law “makes it impossible for us to continue with our current California team site structure,” the company said on its website.

The new law implements a legal ruling last year by the California Supreme Court regarding workers at the delivery company Dynamex. But the Pacific Legal Foundation lawsuit says that ruling would have had little direct effect on professionals engaged in “original and creative” work, like its clients.

The law gives newspaper companies a one-year delay to figure out how to apply to the law to newspaper carriers, who work as independent contractors.

“The bill represents an existential threat to our industry,” said Jim Ewert, general counsel for the California News Publishers Association. “Content doesn’t matter if you can’t put it on peoples’ doorsteps.”

His organization is not involved in the lawsuit, but he said the government “has to be mindful of the impact it is going to have on the freedom of expression.”

The law may be suspect on free speech grounds for singling out a particular classification of worker engaged in expressive activities, Ewert said. And he said this particular facet has the potential to harm what he called “underrepresented voices” that may be more limited in speaking out for minority, low income, LGBT or other communities.

The California Trucking Association last month filed the first challenge to the law on behalf of independent truckers. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have said they will spend $90 million on a 2020 ballot measure opposing the law if they can’t negotiate other rules for their drivers.

December 18, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Politics. Leave a comment.