Rep. Michelle Steel leads an effort to repeal AB5 as protesting from truckers progresses.
Tensions are building for California truckers who have been protesting a new law that is seeking to reclassify how employees are defined. However, a push to repeal the bill has been led by Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Seal Beach) calling for Governor Gavin Newsom to take action.
Signed into law in 2019 by Gov. Newsom, Assembly Bill 5 seeks to limit the use of independent employees by having them pass an “ABC” test. With the new restrictions coming into place the California Trucking Association (CTA) claimed that it could take 70,000 independent truckers off the roads.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to decline to take up a lawsuit from the CTA claiming that the workers reclassification law would devastate the industry, controversy from both sides has built. Proponents claim that it would safeguard independent workers, however, opponents, like Rep. Steel, have warned that it would possibly disrupt livelihoods and the economy.
“AB5 will cripple our trucking industry, worsen the backlog at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and exacerbate the supply chain crisis. I’m calling on @CAgovernor and Sacramento Democrats to repeal this law immediately,” tweeted Steel following a truckers protest.
Two massive protests have now occurred on both ends of the California coast. A convoy of port truckers led a protest on July 14 through the Los Angeles-Long Beach port which resulted in a terminal closure. Another protest broke out this past week at the Oakland International Container Terminal resulting in another terminal closure.
“So far there has been no contact with the governor’s office. It seems the governor is not concerned about taking American workers’ rights away,” owner of AB Trucking, Bill Aboudi, told CNBC. “These are independent, small businesses that choose to operate their own trucks, and now that right is taken away from them. They do pay taxes, they do have insurance. It’s their choice to do that.”
Steel led 10 other California Republicans in sending a letter to the governor asking him to “take immediate action to prevent Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) from devastating the California trucking industry and further crippling nationwide supply chains.”
“AB5 continues to restrict the ability of Californians to work as independent contractors. This law creates a chilling effect for many supply chain industries and makes it more difficult for independently contracted truck drivers to operate, leading many to leave California,” the California lawmakers wrote. “It is critical that you take action to ensure that this recent ruling will not add burdens to our already-crippled supply chains. Our constituents and local small businesses want to see this crisis resolved before they are further overwhelmed by broken supply chains, skyrocketing inflation, and the unacceptable state of our economy.
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