CA Govt Threatens to Drive Uber and Lyft Out of State

P. Gardner Goldsmith | August 26, 2020
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As predicted at MRCTV in December of last year, California political conceit is reaping a harvest of job destruction now that the CA Assembly’s AB 5 has gone into effect. And -- as is typical for the manner in which busy citizens miss the machinations of politicians until after state diktats have caused widespread destruction – only now are many Californians spotting the problem.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Carolyn Said reports that, as a result of AB5, on Friday, August 21, both Uber and Lyft would have been forced to cease operations in the state.

But they got a temporary reprieve.

The day before, the companies won a last-minute reprieve from a preliminary injunction that would have forced them to turn drivers into employees on Friday. Had they not been granted that delay, Uber and Lyft had planned to shut down California rides then and to keep cars off the road until at least November, when voters weigh in on Proposition 22, their ballot initiative to keep their workers as independent contractors.

What’s at the center of this?

It’s CA bill AB 5, which the state’s Assembly passed last year, and which was passed to force businesses to conform to Obamacare.


Yeah. Seriously. See, the constitution-shredding Obamacare mandates order (among many orders) companies with 50 or more full-time employees to have to get health insurance for said employees. Barack Obama and the politicians who passed the bill weren’t interested in operating in a peaceful fashion and opening their own businesses to compete in a market for employees and customers. Not at all. In classic fascist fashion, they decided to tell other people how to run their companies and to tell employees how to contract to sell their skills and energy to potential employers.

Nothing in the US Constitution grants them that magisterial power, but as long as very few people bothered to protest it, the politicians will continue to do as they desire.

So that inspired companies to shift many employees to become part-time, or to classify their work as “freelance” or “gig” work, to allow them to escape the Obamacare mandates.

No such luck, according to the leftist CA politicians in the state Assembly, and, hence, they passed AB5, telling employers and employees that if the “freelancer” employees did more than 35 pieces of work for any employer, the employer would have to -- yeah, you got it – classify them as full-time employees, and… again, you got it, provide them with health insurance in compliance with Obamacare.

Freelance writers have been fleeing CA in droves, and their employers also are relocating to Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, or just eliminating the jobs.

But that didn’t seem to matter to some CA politicians, one of the most annoying being Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, of Dan Diego, who Tweeted on December 12, “These were never good jobs. No one has ever suggested that, even freelancers…”

Her claim that “no one” had ever suggested that freelance jobs were “good jobs” not only was impossible to back up, it upset many freelancers – and she has, as one might expect, tried to wipe away her Tweet.

But the statute? The statute stands.

Which brings us to the Uber and Lyft situation. In order to keep functioning, and work around the obnoxious AB5, Uber and Lift shifted their drivers to the category of “independent contractors.” But many bureaucrats and politicians in CA didn’t like that, and the state sued to have them reclassified as “freelancers.”

The state won a temporary injunction that could have forced drivers to be reclassified as soon as Friday, but an appeals court agreed to stay the injunction until it hears an appeal by Uber and Lyft. Oral arguments are scheduled for Oct. 13.

So, in order to live peacefully, in order to simply offer willing customers service, in order to STAY IN BUSINESS, these companies and these drivers will have to expend tons of money to fight a state mandate – a fight that will take place in a state court that ALSO exists because of the state expropriating funds from said same companies and employees (and riders).

Not even classic mob movies show such perfidy and imbalance between individuals and the organization that would order them around.

But that is what’s happening in California, and it seems that, only now, a few California residents are opening their eyes to the problem.

A problem created by federal Obamacare mandates and additional state mandates to tell other people how to run their businesses.

How about peace? Why not leave people alone? That way, people don’t flee to other states, and their skills and services continue to be offered to potential customers who need them.

The Missing Persons’ song, “Walking In LA” comes to mind at this moment in history. The old adage about Los Angeles was that everyone drove in that sprawling metropolis -- and no one took a stroll. Ironically, AB 5 might force folks to have to walk, because the politicians are “driving away” all the drivers.