The Coalition for Independent Truckers launched a program to educate lawmakers about the need for owner-operators and the debilitating effects of California’s AB5 law.
“The Coalition recognizes that the professional independent trucker freely chooses to start and run a business, drive a truck professionally, and build a better life through entrepreneurship. This freedom of choice should be supported, and The Coalition will use its resources to advocate for these opportunities and protect the American Dream,” according to the organization’s website.
Signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2019, AB5 went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The law essentially prohibits owner-operators and truckers who lease rigs from working as independent contractors. However, a lengthy list of other independent contractors are exempt.
Although the California Truckers Association and others fought AB5 all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, California truckers will need to either become employees or move out of state. The Coalition for Independent Truckers is taking proactive measures to prevent the spread of this anti-trucker legislation. The group is preparing “ambassadors” to reach out to state legislators across the country.
Its educational materials are designed to highlight the benefits of independent truckers and explain why it’s every American’s right to work for themselves. People like Bill Webb, former president of the Texas Motor Transportation Association, are leading the charge.
“We’re trying to prepare them for whatever the audience is,” Webb reportedly said. “They will be financially reimbursed for days that they would otherwise be working.”
The ambassadors would also be tasked with posting information on social media and submitting op-eds to media outlets whenever possible. It appears the organization is planning an all-out blitz to ensure other lawmakers don’t undermine entrepreneurial truckers. They’ve also garnered the support of the largest advocacy group in the country, the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
“We’ve been working with Bill Webb and his team to put together training materials they can use as part of their effort,” ATA vice president Nathan Mehrens reportedly said. “Independent contracting is a Tier One priority for ATA, so we’re doing an ‘all-of-the above’ approach to protecting that business model. This is just one of our activities in that space.”
States such as New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have contemplated enacting laws modeled after AB5. Adoption of such laws would likely have a chilling effect on owner-operators.