Letters Sept. 25 - Oct. 2 


Reform of the Gig Economy A Wonderful Thing, Raising the Bar, Sep. 18

The New Economy is a Smokescreen

The writer of this article is right on point. This so called "new economy" is a smoke screen for a modern elite class of venture capitalists to take back basic economic benefits that American workers have earned through collective bargaining over the last 150 years. In exchange for services rendered, workers are entitled to receive a fair wage, safe working conditions and benefits.

This whole notion of workers being contractors not employees is a concept contrived to keep all of the profits at the top of the corporate structure while exploiting low skilled working class people. These companies keep all of the money and take none of the risk or responsibility that comes with running a company.

As a society, we cannot allow companies like Uber and Lyft to provide the exact same services to the public as a taxi cab company, but not be required to compete while playing by the same rules.

I am glad to see California step up to the plate as it relates to this gig economy.


Mr. Youngdahl has written a misguided piece. He forgets that driving for Uber represents an opportunity to work that many people have not had. Many drivers were able to drive part time and earn a few dollars. As independent contractors they could come and go at will. By making Uber drivers employees, and giving them additional benefits, you reduce the available opportunities for work.

As Mr. Youngdahl makes driving for Uber more complicated and costly, the opportunities will decline.

Jerry Udinsky

I love that just because companies have to provide benefits means that they "have" to pay drivers less and become somehow "less competitive." This argument is so tired and lacking in an understanding of how the "market" really works. If ALL the companies have to do the same thing, there is no competitive disadvantage. That is the positive role government can play to make sure that companies that opt to do the right thing in supporting their workers don't suffer at the hands of those who are willing to take advantage of people who otherwise have no power.


Traditionally it has been the Independent contractors who have been the biggest in favor of Independent contractor status. This has been largely motivated by not having Payroll and Income Taxes taken out of income. They have often been motivated by tax evasion. Their plans are exposed when the worker applies for Unemployment or Disability.

The key is direction and control. Many people value the Independence which this arrangement gives them.

Status as an employee has always been available in many jobs.

I am concerned that this rule is an attempt to get tax collection increased and faster.

James A. Hudkins 1

AB5 is Bad For Journalism, BlindSpotting, Sep. 18

Freelancers Are Losing Markets

In the final version of AB5, journalists have an exemption if they jump through a couple of hoops. Hoops that no one else has to jump through. And they can't do it more than 35 times a year. A limit no one else has. And which prevents publications from developing long-term relations with a freelancer. Weekly columns, for instance, have to run more than 35 times a year. There's another way out for writers, and everyone else, for that matter. It's to set up your freelancing business with all the paraphernalia of a business, which sounds like a good way to go but it's not gonna work. Freelancers just aren't businesslike. And there's more. Certain other writers have blanket exemptions, but not all writers. Graphic designers have blanket exemptions, but not interior designers. And so on. It's driving customers crazy. Freelancers of all kinds are already seeing markets dry up because it's just too complicated for their customers to follow. KQED announced it won't be using freelancers anymore. A writer in San Diego lost an Arizona market. And so on. And there's yet more. Copyright is the lifeblood of freelancing, and being classed an employee takes all copyright away. Employees don't own what they create for their bosses. The bosses own them. By taking copyright from freelancers-turned-employees, AB5 is undermining all self-employed workers who rely on copyrights and patent rights for a living. Even though copyright is called out in the US Constitution as vital to the national interest. Only for the bosses, though, I guess.

Mike Elwin



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