Independent construction trucking business owners stage protest outside Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher’s office

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Thursday morning, a gathering of independent construction trucking business owners staged a peaceful demonstration against the enactment of AB 5.

They say the sweeping new law that goes into effect on January 1, 2020, will have devastating and far reaching consequences to the small construction trucking business owner, construction trucking industry overall, and construction contracting companies and their contractors.

The demonstrators made it clear that they are not protesting AB 5 in it’s entirety. They agree that some of the bill’s protections do help in numerous cases where misclassified workers exist.

But the group told KUSI, “We are contending there are multiple unmitigated errors in AB 5’s application to our construction trucking industry specifically.”

We asked Kirk Fichter, one of the demonstrators, why he is protesting AB 5. He said it is because the bill forces him to go to work for someone else. He explained he has been doing this for 27 years, and the brokers who hire him treat him very well. He buys his own equipment, and wants to be able to make his own decisions. His full remarks can be seen in the video below.

The official release detailing the reason for their demonstration is below:

AB 5, as written for our Construction Trucking Industry, carelessly aligns our Construction trucking business practices with other types of trucking businesses who have historically misclassified independent contractors to gain unfair competitive advantage in their industry. Over- the -road and drayage (particularly port freight) trucking companies and their industry’s trucking brokers are notorious for abusing the definition of independent contractor. The corrupt practices of these other trucking industries have created a universal reputation for all trucking companies regardless of their industry. This grouping of every trucking business category into one for the purpose of developing and implementation of policy and law is not only a miscarriage of the fundamental objective of said law but fractures the integrity of it’s righteous end.

The legislative authors of the “Construction Trucking Exemption” to AB 5 identified and guaranteed the legitimate independent contractor’s rights to contract directly with a customer but failed severely to recognize the critical importance of the legitimate Construction Trucking independent contractor’s need to utilize Construction Trucking Brokers to find sufficient work opportunities to sustain the profitability of their enterprise. In fact, the language of the “Construction Trucking Exemption” essentially outlaws the Construction Trucking Broker model in a deliberate move to eliminate what the bill’s authors believe is “an outdated Broker model that contributes largely to the misclassification of independent contractors.|”

This mischaracterization of the relationship between Construction Trucking Broker and Construction Trucking Independent Contractor is a consequence of the aforementioned assumption that all independent contractor to broker relationships in trucking are the same. They are NOT.

We seek to correct the complete misunderstanding of our trucker to broker relationship and clarify the actual protections and business advantages it delivers to the independent contractor and the Construction Industry it serves. We must somehow capture the attention of our lawmakers in order to have an opportunity to educate them in the facts of this issue so they can confidently and fairly amend that portion of AB 5 if left as written so discriminatorily threatens to destroy an entire classification of legitimate small business enterprise on false supposition.

 

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