Catalina Lauf through Defense of Freedom PAC emerges as Patriots’ voice from the Midwest to fight lies from shoddy research including Chicago-based study released Tuesday
Throughout 2020, McHenry County Blog covered the issue of Worker Classification which was a central issue in the special election in California’s Congressional District 25.
During the spring campaign leading up to the May 12 mostly vote-by-mail election, the controversial California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) law had been supported in 2019 by Democrat nominee who served in the California Assembly (equivalent to an IL state representative).
The most significant reason for Republican Mike Garcia’s win in CA-25 last spring was the bipartisan coalition of voters, including many life-long Democrats crossing party lines to support Garcia because either they, a family member(s), or a friend(s) were negatively impacted by the AB5 law Garcia’s Democrat opponent voted for in Sacramento.
Quick review, the AB5 law was based on input from Left-wing academic who teaches law at Cal-Berkeley, Veena Dubal.
The AB5 law established the definition of employee classification, and to be classified as an independent contractor, the worker must pass the “ABC test”, to prove they are not an employee.
Many workers couldn’t pass the “B” portion of the test, because a client, say for a freelance writer could not sell their articles to a print publication because their business was publishing articles, and the publication was required by AB5 to make the writer an employee.
Additionally, the state of California through legislative action, provided for “exemptions” for certain occupations/professions for workers to maintain their contractor status. An initial set of exemptions were passed with the AB5 law, and last summer, more exemptions were passed.
So under the famous law for ballot initiatives in California, going back to the landmark days of “Proposition 13” of the late 1970s, the proponents of app-based businesses and their drivers, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Uber Eats, etc. successfully placed Proposition 22 on the ballot to give all app-based businesses a voter-approved exemption under the AB5 law.
The approval was overwhelming:
While Prop 22 was passed overwhelmingly, Joe Biden carried California on the same day, and openly campaigned against Prop 22 as far back as Memorial Day.
Prior to the November 3 election, Uber and Lyft, under a court order to convert their drivers to employees to comply with AB5, were ready to leave California. The overwhelming victory made the court order moot.
Now, with Joe Biden sworn-in as the President of the United States and with a Democratic Senate, Dubal, and a Boston College sociology professor, had an opinion column published on MLK Day titled:
“Gig Workers Are Employees. Start Treating Them That Way” The Biden administration has an opportunity to restore basic labor protections to the people who deliver our groceries and drive for Uber and Lyft.Published in the New York Times, 1/18/21
Here’s the conclusion of the Leftist orthodoxy position paper Dubal placed in the New York Times:
“The Biden administration can end the state-by-state, sector-by-sector battle over basic workers’ rights. It can clarify that exemptions from employment and labor laws violate the Fair Labor Standards Act, therefore invalidating Proposition 22.”Veena Dubal & Juliet B. Schor, New York Times 1/18/21
Betraying the Left’s utter contempt for the 10th Amendment and states, with few exceptions, implement labor laws, undermining the will of the voters of CA Prop 22 through decades old Federal legislation exhibits socialism’s worst of choosing winners and losers through government.
McHenry County’s Catalina Lauf, drawing in part from her work experience for Uber a few years back through her job working with the drivers, took to Twitter in the wake of the Dubal/Schor opinion piece with this 3-part tweet, transcribed for readability:
“Once again —liberal academics somehow think they speak for the American worker and companies alike. Contract workers LIKE being contract workers. The gig economy is booming & another example of the free market at its best (which is why the left doesn’t like it).
“Many Uber drivers for example work for Uber on their own time while they’re building other businesses, in retirement, raising kids (etc). It allows a flexibility that being a W2 cannot match. They are not victims — the left should stop interfering!
“Also — I love when professors comment. It’s like teaching entrepreneurship class at a University without having ever built a company / be an entrepreneur.”Catalina Lauf tweets, 1/18/21
New Jersey-based freelance writer Kim Kavin, who successfully lobbied the NJ Legislature last year to stop an AB5-type bill from being passed, gave a writer’s mark-up on Twitter.
I must admit, my sides were hurting earlier this week when I read her mark-up of the Dubal/Schor opinion piece due to laughing hard and out loud, and you can see pics of her mark-up of the “atrocious” column through Twitter pics (click the individual pages to read her mark-up).
Trust me, Kavin tells the truth as she line-by-line skewers Dubal/Schor.
Sadly, what Leftists like Dubal want to do to the nation’s work force is no laughing matter, as everyone who works as a 1099 independent contractor, including in the gig economy livelihoods are at risk. Where California had AB5, Congress has the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act often mentioned by Joe Biden last year during his campaign.
In spite of the U.S. Senate being under Democrat control by the smallest of majorities (50-50+1), the filibuster can still be used to stop something so radical as the PRO Act as passed by the House last year. AB5, the precursor to the PRO Act started in a state capital and the groundwork has been laid for Illinois.
McHenry County Blog published last fall how Illinois Democrats were preparing for the possible legislation to establish an AB5 law here in Illinois, with an IL Senate resolution filed last May.
So Tuesday, the following was published through the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois:
The last two paragraphs of the executive summary say all one needs to read where this Chicago-based study was meant to do:
“On-demand workers for app-based transportation network providers generally earn sub-minimum wages in the City of Chicago. While Uber, Lyft, and Via drivers in Chicago make between $19 and $23 per hour in gross earnings, they earn significantly less after expenses and taxes. After accounting for vehicle expenses reported by AAA, gasoline prices published by the U.S. Department of Energy, and payroll taxes:
- The average TNP driver in Chicago earned $12.30 per hour in 2019, 5 percent below the $13-perhour minimum wage in 2019.
- The average TNP driver in Chicago earned $15.09 per hour in 2020, an estimate that is artificially inflated because TNP workers did not experience the usual levels of traffic congestion.
- The average TNP driver in Chicago would have only earned $13.62 per hour in 2020 with prepandemic levels of traffic congestion, 3 percent below the $14-per-hour minimum wage in 2020
“This analysis suggests that the treatment of TNP drivers as ‘independent contractors’ suppresses their earnings, shifting income from the workers to the executives and shareholders of TNP companies. Two potential policy alternatives could be pursued to improve outcomes for TNP drivers in the City of Chicago:
- State lawmakers could classify TNP drivers as employees, granting them full employment rights and access to basic labor protections, including minimum wage laws, overtime pay laws, workers’ compensation coverage, unemployment insurance benefits, and the ability to collectively bargain.
- Elected officials in Chicago could incorporate a minimum driver pay standard into the Chicago Transportation Network Providers Ordinance, increasing average net pay to $15 per hour. After New York City implemented a minimum pay standard, driver pay increased by 8 percent, passenger wait times decreased by 18 percent, and TNP company commission rates fell — indicating that Uber, Lyft, and other TNP companies absorbed part of the increase in costs.”
Typical of the Left, in the 2nd bulletpoint above, minimizing the real, using their metric, hourly wage exceeded the Illinois minimum wage last year downplayed through less traffic congestion.
Yesterday, Defense of Freedom PAC’s Catalina Lauf responded to the latest from the Left, including her own research to back her up:
“The whole concept of Uber/Lyft is gig. Drivers know exactly what relationship they’re getting into (1099) and in fact, prefer it. Many have other avenues of employment or simply want the flexibility. Why can’t anyone see that?
“Not to mention — if both parties know the relationship structure W2 (contractors) vs a W9 (employee) and willingly go into that partnership why is the government getting involved to tell them how to conduct their business relationship?
“Have you [responding to a comment] ever spoken to an Uber driver before? I’ve spoken to thousands. They echo the same thing this article lays out. I am beyond sick of leftist elitists like yourself [commenter] who think Uber drivers are ‘unskilled’. It is a complete false narrative.
“They are not going into a ‘labor market’ they enter the ‘gig’ economy because again, they prefer the flexibility and like to be their own bosses. Many veterans, moms, entrepreneurs and retirees make up Uber drivers — to call them ‘unskilled’ is complete leftist arrogance
“Have you [responding to same Twitter commenter] ever spoken to a small-business owner? If there is a massive oversupply of labor — why are manufacturing companies, farmers and other industries who look for workers in the demographic you’re describing…massively understaffed? They can’t find workers fast enough.
“The Left will try to convince you they’re looking out for ‘workers’ when in reality…they’re looking out for themselves. Wonder why they want to intervene in companies – the free market provided a better alternative to awful public transportation and now they want their cut.“Catalina Lauf series of tweets 1/21/21, external articles included Forbes “Do Uber Drivers Even Want To Be Employees?” 4/22/15, and Curbed Chicago “Uber and Lyft hurt CTA ridership, slow down buses, and worsen congestion: Ride-hailing trips have increased by 271 percent since 2015” 10/28/19
The 17-page study Lauf responded to, “On-Demand Workers, Sub-Minimum Wages: Evidence from Transportation Network Provider Trips in the City of Chicago” can be viewed here.
Additionally, The Washington Post published an article on MLK Day, “Biden campaigned on making gig workers employees. Now he has to convince Democrats: Once clear-cut, the uncertain future of gig work is the biggest labor issue facing the incoming Biden administration” can be viewed here.
Busy MLK Day week, with McHenry County’s Catalina Lauf response to the Left’s narrative complete with her own research.
The Defense of Freedom PAC responded admirably and Lauf emerged as a leader alongside Kim Kavin of New Jersey and Lisa Rothstein of California and many others on the frontline to protect our Freedom to work the way an individual chooses and the best opportunity to exercise our Freedom is with minimal government interference.