Does Elizabeth Warren Endorse Rep. Gonzalez’s Anti-Worker Record?
“I have a plan for that!” has become Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) new trademark catchphrase to stand out in a crowded field of presidential hopefuls. To her credit, she has fired off numerous plans to cement her status as the field’s resident policy wonk. Whether those plans are prudent is a different story.
Among her many plans, which primarily focus on workers, one calls for reclassifying independent contractors—which includes Uber drivers, DoorDash delivery drivers, and other (app-based) gig workers—as employees.
But her plan is not completely her own idea. Like many federal proposals, her plan was inspired by state legislation. In this case, California Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which was signed into law last month, is its predecessor. The bill was introduced by one of Warren’s endorsees, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, and Warren even endorsed her bill in a Sacramento Bee guest column.
AB 5, however, would virtually decimate the gig economy, making it harder for employers to hire workers and for Californians to find (extra) work.
Of course, it wouldn’t be California if the state’s most politically connected industries, such as the insurance and real estate industries, didn’t carve themselves exceptions in the bill. Even direct-selling companies—part of an industry that has a history of trapping its workers into elaborate pyramid schemes—like Mary Kay are exempt from the bill.
Given these exceptions, one must ask if this is really about workers.