Gonzalez Proposes New Workplace Rights for Independent Contractors

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

AB 1727 would protect gig economy workers who organize for better treatment on the job

SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, March 9, 2016) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) has authored legislation that would ensure independent contractors like those working in the gig economy do not lose out on basic workplace rights to organize and collectively bargain simply because they’re not treated as employees by the companies who dispatch them for work.

Assembly Bill 1727 – known as “The California 1099 Self-Organizing Act” – would allow independent contractors who perform their work through a hosting platform several rights at the workplace that are currently only enjoyed by employees, including negotiating as a group, communicating with customers and the public, boycotting or critiquing a hosting platform's business practices, and reporting publicly or to law enforcement any practices which an independent contractor reasonably believes violates local, state, or federal law and adversely affect either workers or clients.

“California has led the way in innovating our economy through technology, and our laws must catch up to that innovation in order to do right by the workers in this state,” Gonzalez said. “This bill ensures that the millions of Californians who aren’t treated as employees, including workers in the evolving gig economy, simply have the option to organize and collectively bargain for better pay and working conditions for themselves for the work that they perform.”

According to recent polling, those working in the gig economy agree by a 2-1 margin that the industry is exploiting a lack of regulation. More than two-thirds agree they don't have the same financial safety net as full-time workers, and more than 70% believe they should receive more benefits.

Analysis by labor lawyer Rich McCracken – an adviser on The California 1099 Self-Organizing Act – has concluded that current law doesn’t allow these workers the right to organize themselves and collectively bargain for even the most basic safeguards unless a state proactively provides them a legal framework. While AB 1727 doesn't mandate benefits or institute any new regulation on hosting platforms, it does empower working people facing a new economic landscape with the legal tools to help themselves as they see fit.

AB 1727 is co-authored by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica). Amendments to AB 1727 reflecting The California 1099 Self-Organizing Act are available today upon request but will be processed and posted on the Assembly’s website shortly.

For more information on AB 1727 or to interview Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Evan McLaughlin at (916) 319-2080 or (619) 850-2790.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents California’s 80th Assembly District, which includes portions of the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista and National City. She serves as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace and is a single mom. For more information, visit http://asmdc.org/members/a80/.