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Leader of the movement against California’s AB 5 weighs in against the PRO Act

Apr 29, 2021 by AFP

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the founder of Freelancers Against AB5, the California law that has cost hundreds of thousands of independent contractors their livelihoods.

In the Orange County Register, she writes that, “with House passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, the nation veered one step closer to replicating the federal equivalent of California’s disastrous Assembly Bill 5 law.”

A key provision tying the PRO Act and AB 5 together is the ABC test, which presumes all workers are employees unless the organization doing the hiring can prove otherwise or, as is the case in California, lobbyists can persuade lawmakers to exempt their industry.

As Anderson explains, the “ABC test in California is nearly impossible to pass for most contracting relationships; now the same test is embedded in the PRO Act.”

There are no exemptions included in the PRO Act, but the bidding from politically connected groups is certain to follow if the measure is enacted. Anderson writes:

Meanwhile, hundreds of categories are left out in the cold and forced to beg for relief, including nonprofit organizations, community theater, independent filmmakers, event planners, court reporters, transcribers, videographers, independent health care professionals, physical therapists, mall Santas, and more.

Even for exempt industries, the chilling effect on independent contracting is causing many employers to simply avoid independent contractors. The same disaster would befall the entire country under the PRO Act.

Read more in the Orange County Register about why the Senate must heed the warning of California’s cautionary tale.