(Natural News) Truckers tied up traffic and blocked several freeways near the ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach on July 13 as they protested California’s “gig worker” law, which reclassified many independent contractors as employees.
The truckers held up signs with slogans such as “AB5 Kills Dreams,” referring to Assembly Bill 5 from 2019 by then-Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, who resigned from her post in January.
The truckers drove slowly over the Vincent Thomas Bridge between Long Beach and San Pedro, then made their way north on the Harbor Freeway before ultimately moving southbound on the Long Beach Freeway.
Around 40 percent of U.S. imports and 25 percent of exports run through the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, and many say that banning the 70,000 independent trucking businesses – unless they join major companies or unionize — could worsen the already problematic supply chain and increase inflation.
The three-prong requirements as indicated in the AB5 would regulate the relationship between owner-operators and carriers, requiring that (a) the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact; (b) the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and (c) the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as the work performed.
The bill was immediately challenged in court after taking effect on June 30. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the California Trucking Association and instead returned the case to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for further review, which sparked the protest. (Related: US companies now dropping requirements for workers in response to labor shortages.)
The “gig worker law” was named so because it regulates part-time, independent workers who don’t belong to unions. It especially targets Uber and Lyft, which are “gig-driver” companies. Both Uber and Lyft worked to pass Proposition 22 in 2020 to exempt their drivers from the law. The Proposition was later challenged in court and was struck down in August 2021. The case is also currently being appealed.
Independent contractors become employees
AB5 re-classified most independent contractors as full-time employees to combat what was said to be misclassification of workers to deny them their fair wages, health insurance, retirement plans and other rights. However, the stringent rules also removed many workers from their gigs, with some moving to other states so that they can continue working.
Supporters said the law is intended to ensure workers receive their fair wages and other employment benefits. Some workers, mostly within labor unions, had pushed for the law, saying that they were being denied benefits by being classified as outside contractors.
There had been no reports of issues or interruptions at the port during the rally.
A statement by the Port of Los Angeles to City News Services said the Los Angeles Port Police assisted in making sure that all parties can express their First Amendment rights while ensuring that the port continues to operate safely and that business continues as usual. (Related: 70,000 truck owner-operators in California may be forced to stop driving in one week due to new state law.)
Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, said the port had planned the protest days before and the protesters were given the space they needed to voice their opinion but kept cargo moving through the complex.
“These drivers are very respectful to [do] just that. I applaud them for coming out here today,” he said.
Meanwhile, Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero said all terminals and roadways in the harbor remained open. “We are aware of the issues surrounding the requirements of AB5, and we are working with our drayage partners and other stakeholders to ensure that goods can be delivered safely and quickly through the supply chain,” he said in a statement.
Visit SupplyChainWarning.com for more updates about supply disruptions.
Watch the video below to know more about the collapsing supply chain in America.
This video is from the Deplorable Preacher channel on Brighteon.com.
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