Economy

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE? Author of California’s Disastrous AB 5 Promises A Fix For Some ‘Gig Workers’

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the former union official who authored California’s job-killing AB 5, reportedly promised a legislative fix to exempt certain “gig workers.”


In their haste to appease labor unions by making it harder for employers to use so-called “gig workers,” California legislators are finding that AB 5, the law designed to help workers, is actually hurting them.

Even though the law does not go into effect until January 1st, thousands of freelance writers and musicians are already finding their livelihoods in jeopardy as companies begin cutting “gigs.”

On Wednesday, two freelance writers’ groups filed a lawsuit in federal court in Los Angeles alleging that AB5 “unconstitutionally restricts free speech and the media,” reported the Los Angeles Times.

The same day the freelance writers filed their federal lawsuit, a group of musicians met with AB 5’s author, former union organizer-turned-California-Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez in her office to talk about how her bill is hurting their careers.

The meeting, which was arranged by musician and writer Ari Herstand, resulted in an interesting “promise” from Lorena Gonzalez: She told the musicians that she would create a “clean up bill” to address the musicians’ concerns.

Here is Herstand’s summary [emphasis added] of the Gonzalez meeting:

All in all, it worked out to be a very healthy discussion and she expressed willingness to create a ‘clean up bill’ and add clarification for the music community – essentially carving out certain music professionals from the law.

She explained that come January 6th when the Assembly is back in session, they can get to work on drafting language for the new Bill and once the language is agreed upon by all interested parties (us, RIAA, A2IM, AFM), they will vote on it. She did say that it will be voted on before September 1st (the deadline), but we shouldn’t expect it much sooner – these things take time.

But, and this is a huge Kardashian but, if this clean-up bill is passed, it will be retroactive. Meaning, even though nearly every musician in California will be in breach of this law come January 1st, this clean-up bill will essentially wipe away these, uh, crimes. So even though literally thousands of musicians will be breaking the law come January 1st, no one will be able to come after us once this clean-up bill is (hopefully) passed because it will in essence change the law from when it was enacted (January 1, 2020).

While Gonzalez’s reported promise all well and good (if she actually follows through with it), it does nothing for at least a year (after AB 5 will have gone into effect).

This means that companies who book musicians (and any other company in any other industry that Ms. Gonzalez deems worthy of ‘exempting’ in her “clean up bill”) will still be violating AB 5—which likely means they won’t be booking too much talent between now and whenever the California legislature fixes the disaster that is AB 5.

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