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AB 5 would put independent truckers in California out of business if it becomes law

SACRAMENTO — More than 150 independent owner-operators of trucks converged on the State Capitol Thursday to protest Assembly Bill 5.

The measure, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, was intended to go after so-called “gig economy” abuses where contactors with Uber and Lyft ridesharing were often making less than minim wage due to how the tech firms operated.

as worded, Assembly Bill 5 — if passed and signed into law — would eliminate other contract or piecemeal jobs where those doing the work as non-employees are able to make a decent living. Included among those are independent truckers that have made significant investment in trucks.

Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association (CTA), issued the following statement regarding the convoy of that converged the Capitol today as part of a protest, organized by the California Truckers Guild, to call attention to Assembly Bill 5. CTA has been working with the author and legislators to offer a fix to AB 5 that would protect employees from misclassification without eliminating the independent owner-operator business model.

“This is much more than a story about traffic inconveniences in downtown Sacramento on a Thursday in early September. This is a story about businessmen and businesswomen, who made a decision, in many cases 10, 15, 20 years ago or more, to invest well over $100,000 of their money into a truck and start their own business as an independent owner-operator, not an employee driver. 

“With driver jobs widely available, these individuals could have decided to become employee drivers at any point over the years. But independent owner-operators want exactly that, to operate their own business independently and continue working for themselves as they have done for decades. With AB 5 they are watching their livelihoods being destroyed right before their very eyes, they are rightfully upset, they want to be heard and I agree with them.

“These truckers are here because AB 5 would deny a significant segment of the trucking industry the ability to continue operating as independent owner-operators, forcing them to abandon investments they’ve made in their trucks while taking away their flexibility to set their own schedule and determine the destiny of their business.

“While we support clear definitions of who can and cannot be classified as an independent contractor in order to avoid abuses in the workplace, AB 5 does not take into account the more than 70,000 California truckers who have built their business around the independent owner-operator model, invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their trucks and have made the decision to run their own businesses instead of being employee drivers.

“Independent truck drivers represent a vital and successful segment of the trucking industry and Sacramento should be encouraging this entrepreneurial spirit, not destroying their livelihood.”