Warning: Federal Legislation is on its Way

AB5 killed freelance careers in California. Now there’s a federal version coming for freelancers across the nation.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ve probably heard about California’s disastrous Assembly Bill No. 5, which has pretty much put an end to the gig economy as we know it in the state. AB5 went into effect on January 1, 2020 and has decimated hundreds of thousands if not millions of freelancer and VBO careers in California

Basically, lawmakers sought out to reclassify independent contractors in the state as employees with the goal of strengthening unions. AB5 was particularly aimed at Uber and Lyft drivers and similar workers, but it has negatively impacted most varieties of freelancers across the state.

 In order to continue working as a freelancer, employers must now demonstrate that their independent contractors are indeed independent contractors and not employees according to a three-pronged ABC test. You can learn more about AB5 and the ABC test here

So, here’s the scary truth. A federal version of California’s terrible AB5 is sitting in Congress right now. It’s called the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act. The bill is also known as H.R. 2474. 

Initially, the bill had little to do with independent contractors and everything to do with overturning the Janus decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that public servants in 22 states no longer have to pay a government union as a condition of employment. In its infancy, the Pro Act was all about killing employer rights and forcing workers to join unions. 

Somewhere along the line, a lawmaker added an amendment to the Pro Act that included text from California’s AB5 pretty much verbatim. It, like AB5, reclassifies independent contractors as employees unless they meet the ABC test criteria. This means freelancers and VBOs throughout the country could face the same harrowing fate as their counterparts in California - being dropped by their clients, forced to give up their freedoms and autonomy and forced to find a traditional job. You don’t want that reality.

You may be thinking that it’s unlikely that the bill will pass, but people in California thought the same about AB5. The problem is that the bill benefits unions to a great deal, and there are no bigger campaign donors than unions. So, lawmakers in Congress will do just about anything to get union support with little regard for the millions of freelance and VBO careers H.R. 2474 will kill. 

The Pro Act has the potential to destroy your freedoms. Do you like setting your own hours? Do you like having the freedom to work from wherever you want with whoever you want? Do you like not having a limit on your earning potential? All of these freedoms will likely go right out the door if this awful bill is passed. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to sit back and let this happen. You can do something about it. We have launched a petition to tell Washington that we don’t want them interfering with our livelihood. We implore our lawmakers in Congress to vote no on H.R. 2474 and any other legislation that takes away our right to work on our own terms. If you want to stand up for your rights and take action, join us by signing the petition. You can access it here and here

We don’t have to sit idly by while lawmakers who know almost nothing about us make life-altering decisions that will infringe upon our freedoms and destroy our hard-earned careers. There are 57 million freelancers and VBOs in America and our numbers are growing everyday. We will soon outnumber traditional employees, and Washington is fearful. They want control and they want revenue, but we can fight back. 

Sign our petition, call your representatives and make your voice heard. We are a powerful voting block and we have agency when we work together. So do your part. Fight for your freedom to freelance. We’ll be here to support you every step of the way.

Chantel Baul

I’m a skilled communicator with more than four years’ experience in digital and print content creation, who has a keen ability to adapt messages for diverse audiences. I have demonstrated proficiency in editorial writing conventions, social media strategy, brand reputation management, and interdisciplinary collaboration. I’m a driven and progressive researcher with an aptitude for storytelling. I'm also a proud Public Affairs Officer in the United States Army Reserve.

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