(Source: International Brotherhood of Teamsters press release, June 30, 2022)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to take a case seeking to overturn a California law on worker misclassification, and by doing so expanded employment protections to California truck drivers currently misclassified as independent contractors.
In denying the petition of the California Trucking Association, the court will let stand AB 5, a California law meant to ensure that those who work at the beck-and-call of a company must be considered employees. The measure, which was signed into law in 2019 but hadn’t fully gone into effect, was landmark legislation for California truck drivers, particularly at the ports, who rallied with the Teamsters for years against being improperly labeled as contract workers.
“Finally, port truck drivers and so many others across California will have the opportunity to join together and earn a fair wage that allows them to support their families,” said Sean M. O’Brien, Teamsters General President. “These companies can no longer take advantage of workers and fill their own executive pockets with unfairly earned profits.”
“AB 5 was a significant victory in the Teamsters’ decades-long battle against misclassification in trucking,” said Jason Rabinowitz, President of Teamsters Joint Council 7. “We thank the courts for letting stand legislation that guarantees truck drivers the employment protections they deserve. Now it’s time to enforce this law.”
The Teamsters worked with Attorney General Rob Bonta to help defend the legislation.
“Over the last decade, the California Labor Commissioner found misclassification is rampant at our ports, in construction, package delivery, and more,” said Randy Cammack, President of Teamsters Joint Council 42. “The race-to-the-bottom in trucking is going to end in California when the Teamsters help to enforce AB 5.”
Companies purposefully and deceptively misclassify their workers as independent contractors to deny workers fair wages and benefits, and to avoid paying employee-related expenses, like unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and Social Security. This corporate greed damages the economy, leaves workers’ lives in jeopardy, and puts good employers who play by the rules at a competitive disadvantage.
Lorena Gonzalez, who previously authored AB 5 as a state legislator and now is the incoming Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation, said workers will now have a better quality of life thanks to the law.
“AB 5 stands for the simple principle that all workers deserve the protections of employment status, including the right to unionize,” Gonzalez said. “Misclassified truck drivers have been at the forefront of this fight for decades. The courts have spoken and AB 5 is the law of the land. Now it’s time for us to crackdown on abusive employers and better the lives of working people.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.