Nearly two million workers in California might be impacted by a state supreme court ruling that could turn them into company employees instead of independent contractors. Intense lobbying is underway in Sacramento from employers, who are against it, and from labor leaders, who are for it.
Many construction hauling trucks you see on Bay Area roads are operated by independent contractors. They pick their jobs. They set their hours. They work for themselves.
However, a decision in a state Supreme Court case involving Dynamex in April has triggered intense lobbying in Sacramento. Ride share drivers, taxi drivers, insurance agents, hair stylists and others say the court ruling takes away their independence.
It could also hurt their income.
“I’m going to make less income if I work for the company because the company will give me only eight hours,” said Buni Shakur, an independent San Jose taxi driver for 20 years. “Now I can work four hours in the afternoon, four hours in the morning and four hours in the night time.”
The court decision sets new definitions for independent contractors.
The California Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of employers are urging the state legislature to put a temporary hold on implementation of the court decision. Independent contractors are planning a big rally at the statehouse on Wednesday.
However, labor leaders are already there, meeting with individual lawmakers. One such meeting was held in the Sacramento office of State Senator Jim Beall of San Jose.
Labor groups don’t want legislators to interfere with the court’s decision. They argue that the state Supreme Court will help close to two million workers in California.
“They don’t get the minimum wage or overtime pay,” said Ben Field, executive officer of the South Bay Labor Council. “They’re not paid Social Security. That all changes with this case, Dynamex. Dynamex is a blockbuster case because it really changes the status of a large number of workers.”
There’s no indication yet what Sacramento lawmakers will do.