Groups Say AB5 Will Ensure Fair Treatment for Workers, Cleaner Environment

Labor and environmental organizations today celebrated the passage of AB5, which codifies into law protections for workers often misclassified by companies as independent contractors, by California’s legislature.

September 12, 2019

Following the bill’s passage, several organizations involved in supporting the bill throughout the process released statements:

JB Tengco, Western States Director, BlueGreen Alliance
“We applaud the leadership in the legislature for supporting this groundbreaking bill. AB 5 will protect workers and ensure that California continues it progress fighting the climate crisis. Workers should not bear the brunt of large capital expenses needed—like cleaner delivery trucks and passenger vehicles, for example—for our efforts to combat climate change.  Instead, it should fall to the corporations they work for.

“We’re especially proud of the allies in the labor and environmental movements that helped keep up the pressure to ensure its passage. We look forward to Governor Newsom signing this transformative bill into law.”

Kathryn Phillips, California Director, Sierra Club
“By passing AB 5, the state Senate sent a clear message to transportation companies that they can no longer neglect their responsibility to comply with environment and public health protections by misclassifying workers.“

Adrienne Alvord, Western States Director, Union of Concerned Scientists
“It’s vital that companies take responsibility for the real costs of their businesses, including fair wages, benefits, and working conditions and the environmental and climate costs of doing business. The shift in the commercial trucking industry over past decades to classify drivers as independent contractors instead of employees reduced pay, shifted liability, and—notably—made it harder to reduce air pollution. Additionally, electrification of the heavy-duty truck sector, a much needed climate action, can move along faster now that misclassified contract truck drivers will not bear the burden of financing new electric trucks.”

David Pettit, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
“AB5 will improve air quality when the costs of expensive diesel truck maintenance are borne by well-capitalized trucking companies and not low-paid truck drivers who are misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees. Our labor partners showed true leadership in getting this bill passed.”

Erica Martinez, California Policy Advocate, Earthjustice
“Often the companies outsourcing their workers are also outsourcing responsibility for cleaning up the pollution they create. We cannot make progress protecting public health against pollution unless we are simultaneously protecting workers.”

Alvaro Sanchez, Environmental Equity Director, Greenlining Institute
“Disruptive technology should never have been allowed to be destructive to employee wages, benefits, and protections. AB 5 makes sure jobs in the transportation electrification sector and the shared mobility sector—like Uber and Lyft— provide living wages, benefits, and protections that all workers deserve.”