California, Let's talk about AB5 and how much it sucks

This one politician, Kevin Kiley, is fighting against it. I don’t know what district he covers, or even what party he’s in. I’m on his side. Sadly, a lot of Democratic politicians are in favor of AB5 too. What is America without the opportunity to start and grow your own damn business? How will the apparel industry survive without freelancers? We all know perfectly well how important freelancers are, and how broke companies would be if we all sat around staring at our phones half the year, on the payroll.

AB5 was the dumbest thing Newsom has ever done. I love most of what he’s done, too! I suspect the agencies had something to do with this, too. Even before AB5, I had some clients tell me they were concerned about hiring freelancers. Yet through an agency it’s no problem for them. Yet the agencies ROB US BLIND. Agencies are fine if you’re just starting out, but once your resume can speak for itself, you don’t need a hustler.

AB5 makes it illegal for us to work freelance. I say “us” but I left in January. But now I have to also make sure the state no longer sees me as a tax resident because they are vicious about that, whether you leave the country or just move to Arizona!

Here are some people’s stories about how AB5 has affected their businesses and their livelihoods. Of course COVID made it far worse. Without COVID, these people would’ve been forced to take FT jobs they hate, earning less money than they did as independent contractors. Now thanks to COVID, many of those jobs aren’t even available anymore.

And now UBER, with all their billions, has bought themselves a proposition. But selfish assholes that they are, it will only benefit THEIR business. That’s it. Prop 22 is solely for rideshare drivers, which makes me so angry! Yes, driving rideshare is a helluva lot better than having zero options. But hello? what about all the other industries ruined by AB5? The law needs to be OVERTURNED, not chipped away. Why should EACH AND EVERY profession get together, pay for lawyers, fight the law, and hope to win their little section? That’s bullshit.

I moved to Spain, where I plan to switch my visa to a freelancer’s visa. This will enable me to work freelance for whomever I damn well please. Not to be turned away because the company already has five other patternmakers working full time! But I still love California and hey, it’s my home state. It breaks my heart to see people’s lives destroyed like this.

Click on the main image on this website to read the PDF of our stories. Even though it’s Newsom who really needs to read them!


“Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.”
― T.S. Eliot


AB5 could end-up being the law for the entire country…

I‘be heard that, thanks for sharing the article though. I’m still glad I voted for him, (Yesterday!) but this is crazy. Yes, workers need better protection. Yes, unions are a good idea, as long as they’re managed well. But ruining freelancers before fixing those wrongs is putting the cart before the horse.

It’s like banning cars from cities before building adequate public transit and micromodal infrastructure!

Susanna Schick, MBA


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I understand you feelings about AB5 and how it’s cutting into freelance opportunities, but tbh, if a company wants a person to come in 9-5 and sit at a desk and have a schedule, then they need to start hiring employees, and not freelancers, and give benefits. This is how UPS got in trouble, as well as Lyft, Uber, Amazon… As a freelancer, I work on site a s little as possible, keep my own schedule mostly, that’s why I am freelance.


@Designmaven know it seeks to protect freelancers, but it has the opposite effect. It’s like so many laws written by politicians who don’t understand reality. We lost our full-time jobs because companies couldn’t afford to or didn’t want to pay our salaries. Yes, that needs to change, but making freelance illegal (and yes, I know, it’s not actually illegal, but when you’re hiring extra patternmakers or TD’s to handle a crunch, it actually is) is putting the cart before the horse.

People need job security first. In more civilized countries, there are employment contracts. And there are freelancers who are sole-proprietors that can work whatever schedule or type of work they want to.

It’s not a lie that countless sole proprietors are now unable to work. It’s not a lie that companies are afraid to hire independent contractors, and insisting on hiring them through agencies. I’ve had that happen at multiple LA companies.

Look at some of the stories. These aren’t gig drivers. They’re the occupations that companies don’t need and can’t afford to keep on staff. I loved working freelance, I loved making my money when it was crunch time, and jetting off on three week vacations when it wasn’t. Why should I be denied that independence? Why should any American be denied the right to start their own business, instead of being just another cog in the wheel?

I’m as democratic socialist as they come, but seriously? This isn’t Russia. We shouldn’t all be forced to work for Amazon. Some of us enjoy the freedom, even though it’s got a higher risk. I had ZERO job security working full time, and neither do you. Unless you’re the owner of the company. Unions would be nice, but they’ve long since been massacred in the US.

I suspect what’s hard to grasp is that my opinion is that taking care of the workers is the government’s responsibility, not the company’s. I want my government to provide health care and retirement, I don’t want to have to settle for the scraps my employer is willing to throw me.


This is a side topic, but it’s hard to ignore how this seems to disproportionately affect women. Looking through the doc you uploaded, the majority of testimonials are attached to (typically female) names. This makes sense since women are more frequently the workers that require flexible working schedules or whose working history may have longer periods of absence from the workforce and therefore may choose to freelance to get back to work, etc. COVID has already dealt quite a blow to working women and this is further compounding the problem.


According to our research, and the numbers are pretty good, roughly 80% of fashion industry professionals are women. Laws like this hurt freelancers and women disproportionately.

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