Is there anything more ironic than a bunch of freelance journalists getting fired because of the same bill they spent years championing?

California’s AB5 bill was supposed to force Uber/Lyft to treat drivers like employees instead of independent contractors. Turns out, the bill’s definition also applies to freelance journalists. Oops. Now CA journalists are being laid off in time for the holidays.

September 2019 (From Vox): Gig Workers’ Win in California is a Victory for Workers Everywhere

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December 2019: Vox Media to Cut Hundreds of Freelance Jobs Ahead of Changes in California Gig Economy Laws

In all seriousness, let’s stop pretending Uber/Lyft drivers are employees or should be entitled to the benefits/protections of salaried employees. They enjoy (nearly) all the freedoms of independent contractors. They choose their own hours, location, car, dress code, means of interacting with passengers, etc.

The only problem is the fact that the company determines the price, not the drivers. Independent contractors should be able to submit their own competitive bids, just like a typical bricklayer/tiler/millworker/etc. Instead of pushing for employee status, AB5 should have gone the other way, and instead reinforced drivers’ status as independent contractors by giving them the freedom to negotiate prices.

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