At a pro-Elizabeth Warren event in San Diego, California, a group of protesters showed up to demonstrate against Warren-backer and California Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) for authoring AB5, a disastrous labor law that has essentially declared war on the state’s gig worker economy.
During the event, Gonzalez can be seen delivering a speech, but she momentarily seems to lose her train of thought as the group of protesters shift around and the audience breaks into a chatter. Amidst the pause, someone in the audience can be heard shouting “F*** Donald Trump.”
Gonzalez takes the opportunity to blare the phrase back into the microphone: “F*** Donald Trump!” As Gonzalez regains support, protesters break out in chants condemning the labor law, repeatedly shouting “Repeal AB5,” as the lawmaker’s supporters boo them.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gonzalez proceeded to “taunt” the approximately one-dozen protesters, saying “we don’t need anti-worker Trump supporters here,” reports the news agency.
In a video of the event, protesters can be heard responding with phrases such as “this is not Trump” and “we need a job.”
@LorenaAD80 needs new 👓.
Freelancers showed up a an @ewarren event w/@JulianCastro in Barrio Logan & she confused us with Trump supporters!
I mean we had BIG SIGNS saying #fixAB5 & #freedom2freelance .
She must have been quite confused cause she even yelled “F*ck Trump!” 🙈 pic.twitter.com/2fSHJdtTxL
— Gloria M. Rivera (@BlueUrpi) February 24, 2020
Over the last few months, Gonzalez has faced backlash for passing AB5, a labor law that establishes a three-pronged test for people seeking freelance employment gigs. In order for a company to accept workers on a freelance basis, employers must now prove that gig workers are semi-autonomous, and that they aren’t working within the company’s usual course of business.
As the Daily Wire previously reported, the law was originally tailored to ensure that gig workers, primarily working through ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber, could receive employment benefits.
But the tremendous scope of the law has all but ensured that the state capitol has its tentacles in dozens upon dozens of industries for which the law, fundamentally, should not apply.
In an op-ed published in the Orange County Register on Monday, Ravi Rajan, the president of the California Institute of the Arts, described how, while the law makes sense in some industries, the three-pronged test has fundamentally undermined the state’s music performance industry.
Let’s go back to the three-part test. Under that new standard, workers can be hired as independent contractors, in many cases, only if they are free from the employer’s control, perform work that isn’t central to the employer’s business and have their own, separate business, trade or occupation in the same industry.
Consider a local band that wants to hire a few friends for weekend gigs. Unless those contributing musicians establish their own business units, the local band could face a slew of uncertainty just in scheduling occasional concerts….
Meanwhile, it appears at least some creative workers must be recognized as full-fledged employees when their income from a single employer surpasses just several hundred dollars a year. That foments a new burden that could be devastating for small businesses and other community organizations.
During an interview with KUSI-TV in San Diego, Gonzalez flatly denied that the law has resulted in unemployment, saying that there is “no indication that there are thousands of people out of work,” implying that people who suggest they’ve been displaced by the law are lying.
After the anchors confronted the lawmaker about the fact that Vox Media laid off 200 freelancers in light of the law, Gonzalez denied it.
“First of all, it wasn’t a job. These aren’t jobs. These are freelance positions that may be three hours and month, and it may be three-hundred hours a month,” said Gonzalez. “I’ll tell you, there are two-hundred folks who were writing for [them], but they weren’t writing full-time, they weren’t writing part-time. These are folks who run the gamut.”
“But that gamut was exactly what they wanted though,” responded one of the anchors. “It was their choice to work when it suited their schedule, when it suited their budget, when it suited the rest of their life.”
Gonzalez responded: “If you want the opportunity to be an independent business, AB5 allows for that. You can be a sole-proprietor, you can work as many times as you want for any organization, you just have to be a small business.”