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Judge halts California’s new “gig worker” law that’s impacting truckers

Judge halts California’s new “gig worker” law that’s impacting truckers

Uber and Postmates are also suing California to block AB5

California continues to follow its prime directive, which is the one that specifies that any law enacted must have damaging and/or embarrassing unintended consequences.

Legal Insurrection readers may recall my recent post about California’s new “gig law,” which was originally intended to protect the rights of Uber and Lyft drivers. Passage of AB5 triggered media employers to lay off hundreds of freelance employees at the start of the 2019 holiday season.

The epic failure continues, as a federal judge has temporarily blocked the new measure from impacting more than 70,000 independent truckers.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order sought by the California Trucking Association while he considers imposing a permanent injunction.

He said the association is likely to eventually prevail on its argument that the state law violates federal law. He also ruled the truckers would otherwise be likely to suffer irreparable harm, and that temporarily blocking the law from applying to truckers is in the public interest.

Too bad the writers can’t make the same claim about their work being in the public interest!

A hearing on the trucking group’s request for a preliminary injunction is set for Jan. 13. The truckers are thrilled at this development.

Independent owner-operator truck drivers, many of whom spent $150,000 or more on their big rigs, have been staging protests over AB5,

saying that becoming employees would hurt them financially and remove the flexibility they prefer.

“AB5 threatens the livelihood of more than 70,000 independent truckers,” said CTA CEO Shawn Yadon in a statement in November. “The bill wrongfully restricts their ability to provide services as owner-operators and, therefore, runs afoul of federal law.”

Additionally, Uber and Postmates are suing California over AB5 as well.

The companies filed suit in Federal Court in Los Angeles on Monday. According to the complaint, the AB-5 statute violates several parts of both the US and California constitutions.

“AB-5 is a vague and incoherent statute that does not accomplish what its sponsors have stated they sought to achieve,” the lawsuit claims.

The companies are joining two drivers who use their apps — Lydia Olson and Miguel Perez — in suing the state.

…Postmates said it is not trying to be exempt from the law to or to avoid established rules for determining who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. It issued a statement calling for the two sides to work together to find a solution to protect on-demand workers.

“California has failed to heed calls nor answer the big questions about the future of work and workers in a changing economy,” it said. “Now is not the time to give up or stop talking. Californians deserve a thoughtful, collaborative process to address the 21st century workforce. Not another false choice.

Meanwhile, a wide variety of industries are beginning to feel the impact of the law. Translators, for instance, are being fired.

She’s one of those people with a unique talent. Highly trained, highly specialized and as of today highly endangered in California.

“I do medical translations, vital life saving translations for about 50-clients all over the world. As of today, those clients told me they don’t need me anymore because of the new California law,” says Mary Konstantinidou.

While most people are celebrating the new year, Mary and about a million other people here in California have little to be happy about. As of New Year’s Day, her 35-year career as a Greek to English interpreter is considered illegal in California.

It’s a little something the lawmakers in Sacramento call AB 5.

“After this, I don’t know. I might have to move out of state and that’s not fair. I’ve been paying taxes and helping this state for decades, now they tell me I can’t work,” says Mary.

I am sure that I will be preparing more reports regarding the fallout from AB5. Perhaps Californians will learn to vote out the lawmakers who concoct measures focused on virtue signalling instead of personal liberty.


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There goes another wheel. One by one they’re coming off.

Subotai Bahadur | January 5, 2020 at 3:06 pm

The exemption for owner-operators is only possible because the ICC regulates interstate trucking, broadly defined, preempting state regulations. To be honest, I would rather the exemption was not there because I want California to get what it voted for long, wide, deep, and continuous.

I would love to have coastal Californians to discover that goods do not magically appear on shelves, nor do their products magically go from their point of production to customers via Hogwart’s Express.

I still would encourage owner-operators, and all trucking operations, to move out of California and to stop serving it and transiting it because you know that the California government is going to try to seek revenge on them for the existence of reality.

Subotai Bahadur

He also ruled the truckers would otherwise be likely to suffer irreparable harm, and that temporarily blocking the law from applying to truckers is in the public interest.

How is this a judicial matter? Costs and benefits of lows, both good and bad, are a function of the legislature. Unless there’s something in the relevant (ie, state or federal) constitutions authorizing judges to play uber-legislators, this is ridiculous.

The obvious reason for leaving it to the legislature is that there’s more than one person involved, therefore a possibility of discussion, argument, and rational decision-making going into the crafting of a law. A single judge is not able to do any of this; instead of persuasively developed practical and legal arguments, a judge inflicts a single man’s prejudices on us all.

One could argue that the judge’s actions are equivalent to a presidential veto . . . except that the judge was not elected president. And that’s not a trivial detail.

    robert_g in reply to tom_swift. | January 5, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    The judge has lots of legal precedent to rely on.
    Check out the history of the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Commerce Clause (Article I, section 8 of the Constitution)

    MajorWood in reply to tom_swift. | January 5, 2020 at 4:42 pm

    There is a possibility of more than one person or perspective being involved in the crafting of a law, but in Kalifornia there is a very low probability of that happening.

    Milhouse in reply to tom_swift. | January 5, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    How is this a judicial matter? Costs and benefits of lows, both good and bad, are a function of the legislature. Unless there’s something in the relevant (ie, state or federal) constitutions authorizing judges to play uber-legislators, this is ridiculous.

    Um, no. Injunctions are inherently a judicial function, not a legislative one, and in deciding whether to issue an injunction pending a trial, the judge is explicitly required to assess whether, assuming the party seeking it ultimately prevails on the merits, it is likely to suffer irreparable damage in the meantime without it. This is what every judge, everywhere, does and is supposed to do.

utter BS: there was no desire to protect Uber & Lyft drivers.

their only desire was to destroy independent, non-governmental, transportation options. they also abhor the idea of people deciding for themselves what are acceptable conditions, hours and pay for a particular j*b, according to their needs, and not the omniscient government setting down diktats from on high…

All they have to do is what a lot have done already. MOVE. Leave. Think Russia in 1917, or Germany in 1931.

Or get a PO box across the nearest border or a NV or WY corporation or something.

Nice weather, but only billionaires and homeless people can exist there.

This is all about the unions. They figured that if they outlawed independent contractor jobs, that employers would have to hire everyone as employees, and the unions would have a crack at including all of them in their contracts, thus supplying a larger amount of dues to support idiot Democrats.

Instead, the law of unintended consequences kicked in, and employers said we don’t need that many employees.

Close The Fed | January 5, 2020 at 4:27 pm

Sad, watching them outlaw self-supporting work.

Too much power. Government is dangerous and tyrannical.

2smartforlibs | January 5, 2020 at 4:34 pm

Liberal Playbook: Never think past the knee jerk.

Newsom is the ultimate prog freak, who has truly risen to his level of incompetence.

He is so corrupt, so goddam stupid, that he is losing the battle for California: the highly functioning are leaving.

Newsom, obama, trudeau: the unholy trinity of corruption and stupidity. Clinton, biden, kerry and pelosi get honorable mention.

Why should I believe these consequences were unintended?

JackinSilverSpring | January 5, 2020 at 5:13 pm

I suspect most of the people are whining about AB5 voted for the bozos who voted for it. You reap what you sow.

No California resident can sleep safely while the his legislature is in session.

This law is the “Labor Union Restoration Act”, providing an income stream from corrupt parasites to needy California politicians.

John Sullivan | January 5, 2020 at 6:49 pm

I would think court reporters would be affected, too. They typically are independent contractors working irregular schedules.

Bummer, I was hoping independent trucking operators would be tossed out of work delivering fossil fuels to California.
I say let the law take effect, the idiot voters deserve getting what they voted for.

The damaging effects are very much intended. Job security; now the voters need to rehire them to fix their own mess

Think healthcare. Didn’t Obamacare fix that in 2010?

The embarrassing effects don’t exist as far as they’re concerned. This is a class of creature that can’t be embarrassed.

My family hates being behind the lines in California despite having grown up here. I guess that’s because we remember when this was a great place to live. No longer. We’re egressing to America as soon as we can afford to do it.

Marxism has destroyed this wonderful place.