New Film Exposes How California’s War On The Gig Economy Was Exacerbated By COVID
A new mini-documentary released over the weekend ties California’s ongoing economic hardships to its smashing of the gig economy — just months before the pandemic-induced recession left millions desperate for work. The film was produced by Webby-winning commentary and comedy channel We the Internet TV.
“No one seems to have noticed how California actually made the Covid lockdown much worse,” the film begins. The answer as to how this was done involves sock-puppet ‘grassroots groups,’ virtue signaling politicians, a bilingual children’s music star, and a catastrophe of a bill which succored Unions at the expense of everyone else.
The story begins with Uber, the revolutionary ride-sharing company, which swiftly found itself cast as the villain by politicians who were funded by the same unions losing their power to the gig economy. They created the now-notorious AB-5 legislation as a retort, forcing independent contractors to become full-time employees.
“Well [ride-sharing companies] could provide them with a lot more money, that we know,” said star Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez who crafted and spearheaded AB-5. “But they haven’t. And they won’t until we force them to.”
But, as the documentary points out, the bill doesn’t just target Uber and Lyft. It cracks down on everyone from part-time children’s bilingual guitarists to Mrs. Claus at the mall, both of which are interviewed in the film.
In fact, the only gig workers not affected seem to be those with sufficient lobbying force in the California legislature to carve exceptions for themselves. Those without a phone line to the California Democratic Party were hung out to dry.
According to the documentary, there were 2 million people in California who worked as part-time contractors prior to AB-5.
While hard enough on workers already, the bill went into effect just as coronavirus lockdowns caused millions to lose their jobs. “This timing with the coronavirus is particularly horrendous, given that there are so many people desperate for work,” said interviewee Joel, a professor at Chapman University.
While once independent contractors are forced to stay at home and forbidden from working, the Governor of California is requesting 20 million dollars to enforce the end of gig work.
“California is not legislating based on what people want, or what works, or what works for the economy, but based on a theology,” the professor finished. “They live in some sort of fantasy world.”
California’s poverty rate is today the highest in the nation, with a 15 percent unemployment rate in June.
You can watch the full mini-documentary here.
Jonah Gottschalk is an intern at the Federalist. He studies Modern History and International Relations at the University of St Andrews.