The Independent Women’s Forum, in their Chasing Work series, has released a Santa AB5 video telling the story of Patrick Turnbull, a retired landscape contractor from Sunland, California, who has worked independently as Santa Claus for the past 20 years. Because of Assembly Bill 5 in California, his 20-year tradition will come to an end. 

According to IWF: 

“The law forces employers to hire Santa Clauses as formal employees, instead of as independent contractors, leaving Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their elves without work. Since AB5 took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, holiday performers have been devastated. The effects of AB5 were worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.”

IWF then goes into detail about what AB5 and AB5-style laws entail:

“More and more Americans now work as freelancers, independent contractors, and gig workers, rather than solely as employees of one company or organization. The workplace and workforce are changing rapidly, as workers demand more flexibility and freedom…

Despite the growing needs and demands for flexible work arrangements, some policy leaders want to severely restrict when people can work as independent contractors, freelancers, and gig workers.

California imposed the most significant restrictions on independent contractors, with a law known as AB5, which forced millions of workers into having to make an all-or-nothing choice about whether to be a full-time worker or not to work at all. Thousands had no choice, as many businesses couldn’t afford to offer all independent contractors formal employment opportunities, so they had to let them go. 

California is not alone. Several other states are considering similar restrictions, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would have imposed AB5-style restrictions on the entire country.

The referenced legislation is the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). Unfortunately Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support this legislation which threatens the livelihood of freelancers and independent contractors. The Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the earlier this year and it is expected Nancy Pelosi will bring the bill to the floor in the next congress.

Both Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, running for the U.S. Senate in the Georgia runoffs, have come out in support of the PRO Act as well. If both candidates were to win, it is likely that this legislation could be passed and implemented. In this way, it is important to tell stories about the lives that have been devastated, just in California, by AB5.