AB5 Worker Classification Comes to Illinois with Independent Expenditures

As the San Francisco Chronicle endorses YES vote on Prop 22, first Independent Expenditures paid supporting Illinois General Assembly candidates opposed to AB5 legislation

Over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle, the flagship newspaper of Hearst Publishing in the most liberal city in California, endorsed a “Yes” vote on Proposition 22, which would repeal portions of the controversial Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) law on worker classification.

The tweet from vocal AB5 opponent freelancer Lisa Rothstein seen on Sunday:

The editorial included this passage as part of the reason for a “Yes” vote.

“But the process has been anything but rational. At one point, industry advocates seeking an exemption had to fill out an application with labor groups. One veteran legislator told us he had never seen elected officials so willingly delegate decisions to a special interest on a major bill.”

San Francisco Chronicle editorial 9/13/20

Last week, McHenry County Blog published how numerous civil rights leaders and organizations have endorsed the passage of Prop 22, with many including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. calling the AB5 law “racist”.

Additionally, freelance writer Gabby Hoffman sent a tweet that I retweeted with additional comments early Saturday afternoon:

Over the weekend at a church meeting with nearly a dozen people, the topic of the election came up including the down ballot contests for Congress. Among the participants were 1099 workers, including an UberEats driver.

The message used to get their attention is the fact any 1099 worker’s livelihood is at risk if worker reclassification laws like AB5 are passed at the state level, or at the Federal level with the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which passed the House back in February. As noted in the tweet above, all of the local members of the House voted for it.

While the PRO Act, written about multiple times here on McHenry County Blog sits in the U.S. Senate awaiting action, proponents of the stringent worker reclassification law like AB5 are pushing for similar state laws. Currently in the New Jersey state senate, an AB5 bill is being considered.

The fight now comes to Illinois.

Back in late June, the following Illinois political committee was established and funded with $1.2 million.

The Illinoisans for Independent Work (IIW) committee was funded entirely by Lyft, one of the major app-based businesses employing drivers as independent contractors and along with Uber, are seen as the most high profile examples of the gig economy.

The committee was set up as an Independent Expenditure (IE) committee, meaning similar to their federal counterparts, there can be no collusion of messaging between individual candidates/campaigns and the IE committee.

As previously written on McHenry County Blog, AB5 impacted not only app-based businesses drivers, but also freelancers and independent contractors far beyond the app-based businesses.

This past Friday, the IIW began spending its $1.2 million bankroll on the following Democratic candidates in contested races in both the Illinois House and Senate, according to the B-1 IE report totaling $103,575.20, which all went to a K Street firm for producing and sending a mailing:

Source: Illinois State Board of Elections Website

Of the 10 candidates listed above, 7 are elected incumbents seeking reelection in November. State Senator Patrick Joyce (SD-40) was appointed earlier this year, and received the largest IE supporting him of nearly $21K. The 49th senate district is an open seat with a retiring Democrat.

Karina Villa

The closest district to McHenry County receiving the third highest IE contribution is State Representative Karina Villa (D, West Chicago), who’s in her 1st term and running to succeed 14th congressional district Republican nominee Jim Oberweis in Springfield in the 25th senate district.

Villa is competing with Republican nominee Jeanette Ward, a former school board member for Elgin U46.

Given IIW’s sole funding source being Lyft, one must assume the IIW would not contribute IEs to benefit any candidate who would be supportive of an AB5 law in the Illinois General Assembly.

The soonest a worker reclassification law like AB5 could be considered in Illinois is the fall veto session which begins on November 17, and 9 of the 10 recipients of the IE support from IIW will be in Springfield serving in their current roles during the veto session, and the lame duck 101st General Assembly in early January.

Whether the big labor union bosses will attempt to ramrod AB5-type legislation in Springfield that quickly remains to be seen. Similarly, whether the IIW expands to support additional candidates with IEs, including Republicans, remains to be seen.


AB5 Worker Classification Comes to Illinois with Independent Expenditures — 1 Comment

  1. If Madikahn has anything to do with it.. it will go thru…
    And for Cali its pretty sad when the Gov is on TV and all he can spew out is its all due to Climate change.. as his state burns around them all!

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