What Do You Call Unintended Consequences That Are Utterly Intentional?

The California State Assembly – font of most stupid at the state level in the US, these days, at least in significant states (shaddap, Connecticut) has passed, and seems ready for a signature by Governor Newsom (who is to governors what the State Assembly is – see above) a bill re-classifying independent contractors into employees.

Y’know. So they have to give them benefits.

This should work about as well as forcing up minimum wages.

Look – the “gig economy” looks like a terrible place to have to make one’s living. And it’s a shame we have a huge population of terribly educated 20-somethings who seem to have given themselves no choices but to live in it, writing listicles and proofreading resumes and sharing rides.

But the only thing worse than a crummy, exploitive job is no job at all.

Which is what a lot of Uber and Lyft drivers in California are about to have.

3 thoughts on “What Do You Call Unintended Consequences That Are Utterly Intentional?

  1. Briefly reading this thing, I think it’ll be borderline impossible to enforce or withstand any legal challenge.

    The phrase “the person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed” seems to leave a lot open to interpretation that could allow a number of independent contractors to remain as such. More importantly, such classifications are federal, not state, and I imagine plenty of well-heeled companies will contest this in federal court.

    In short, I believe this is legislation that’s intended to fail – Newson et al can claim they tried but those horrible federal courts and Republicans (somehow) denied exploited workers from getting benefits.

  2. I am so glad my parents got me out of that state when I was 4. It was probably the best thing they ever did for me.

  3. I have to wonder how Uber, Lyft and other “transportation network companies” will fare with this. While the general public thinks U/L drivers are “independent contractors”, we technically are not. In the ToS, we are called ‘partners’. If we truly were independent contractors, we would have the ability to do the following things which we currently do not:

    – see all details about each trip before we accept it (Name, pickup address, destination address to determine length, etc)
    – be able to cancel any trip for any reason right up to the point of “starting the ride” without penalty. Currently we are not actively penalized for not accepting a ride request. We are actively penalized if we accept and then cancel for any reason, including if the rider does not show up after the 5 minute mandated waiting period. If we cancel too many times, it can mean temporary or permanent deactivation.
    – be able to negotiate our own rates with the customer beforehand. “You want me to try to fight dozens of buses and 1000 other TNC drivers when the Vikings game gets out and 10,000 people want to “catch an Uber”, which means I’ll be stuck in traffic for 20 minutes? With a final destination of the Hyatt Regency which is maybe 1.25 miles from the stadium meaning I’ll earn very little money for sitting in traffic for a long time? That’ll be $XX (me deciding my own rate) extra please.”

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