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Repeal AB5 in CA and Defeat HR 2474 in the House
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ConnieTerwilliger
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:29 pm    Post subject: Repeal AB5 in CA and Defeat HR 2474 in the House Reply with quote

If you are not aware of what is going on in CA, please take a moment to read about the blood bath that is happening here to Independent Contractors. A similar bill is now in the House. Backed by the unions and apparently written for Lorena Gonzales by the AFL-CIO. Unions have their place, but so do those of us who want to work as we see fit. I turned down the chance to work as an employee at a large company after I left my job at General Dynamics to go back to free lancing - wearing all my hats. This issue has crossed party lines and is impacting Dems and Republicans alike.

Call, tweet, email, contact news outlets - express yourself and how this could impact your lively hood.

Here are just a couple of stories...Freelancers Against AB5 on Facebook has hundreds of real life stories.

https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/hundreds-of-freelancers-at-repeal-ab5-rally-want-back-the-right-to-earn-a-living-in-ca/

https://www.businessinsider.com/california-ab5-bill-left-freelancers-out-of-work-2019-12
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ConnieTerwilliger
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nothing is showing up in this post expect for my signature.

Quote:
I fixed it Connie. There was a silly little space in a URL that shouldn't have been there.


Bruce
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i don't know what the problem is - but based on the title - you have my full support!
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ConnieTerwilliger
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, little dribs and drabs is it...

If you are not aware of what is going on in CA, please take a moment to read about the blood bath that is happening here to Independent Contractors. A similar bill is now in the House. Backed by the unions and apparently written for Lorena Gonzales by the AFL-CIO. Unions have their place, but so do those of us who want to work as we see fit. I turned down the chance to work as an employee at a large company after I left my job at General Dynamics to go back to free lancing - wearing all my hats. This issue has crossed party lines and is impacting Dems and Republicans alike.

Call, tweet, email, contact news outlets - express yourself and how this could impact your lively hood.
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Bruce
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will be interesting to see if your SAG/AFTRA sisters and brothers will speak up in support of freelance talents. Not holding my breath.


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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

write a weekly column for your hometown newspaper? nope. not anymore.
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SteveToner
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bruce wrote:
SAG/AFTRA sisters and brothers...


I don't think television and film industries are affected by this. I've done work as a background actor ("extra") in both Utah and California. Even though typically only hired for a day, I am considered an employee (of, e.g., Central Casting). And fittingly, the voucher I receive at the end of the day is pink Smile

I haven't read the horror stories, but can't other industries adopt the same model?
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ConnieTerwilliger
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't think television and film industries are affected by this.


The majority of the work done is not with the big film and television companies. It is with the small independent video production companies/producers making corporate videos, local commercials, training, etc. These are the people who will suffer under this law.

Yes, you have been paid as an employee - and Central Casting is set up with a big payroll department.

Are these SAG-AFTRA background jobs? Or are some of the actors on the project SAG-AFTRA?

Quote:
I haven't read the horror stories, but can't other industries adopt the same model?


Here is a specific example. A highly specialized Greek translator who works with a variety of clients has had her contracts cancelled because the companies are worried that they will get fined...even if this worry isn't justified.

Is she supposed to join a large translation company and let them farm her out? Can she set her own hours? Set her own rates? We do our own marketing. We find our own clients. We decide who and when and for how much. We pay taxes. We invest in our retirement. We pay for our health insurance (another issue altogether).

The Business-to-business exemption is difficult to meet due to Part B of the bill which says that you can't be in the "same" business as the person bringing you onto the project. (Avoiding the words hire, job, etc. - which the author of this bill uses to claim that we are employees rather than sub-contractors.)

Or a teleprompter operator who works for a variety of small production companies is now supposed to be hired as an employee rather than an independent contractor because both he and the production company are in the business of making motion media.

Many of us who do voiceover work also do other things in video and audio production. Here is where we need to pay attention to what is happening. Lorena (AB5 author) is actually using the hashtag #AB5foraunion.

The bill was written by the AFL-CIO and while she continues to point people to the Business-to-Business exemption, people are losing contracts by the thousands and some businesses are cancelling projects here in California due to this law.

We don't want collective bargaining for what we do! The vast majority of SAG-AFTRA actors do not make the minimum to qualify annually for health and retirement benefits - and any money that the producer puts into the funds for them are gone for good.

I can see an argument that says if there was more union work (more signatories) then more actors would be making the minimums. There are many many reasons why there are not more signatories.

If you want to be in a union, then you can be in a union ("if" you qualify...for SAG-AFTRA...if you pay the dues for other unions that are not closed).

This law is flawed. It failed to see the ramifications - or the author is so much in the pocket of the unions that she simply doesn't care.

Some companies HAVE been taking advantage of people who clearly should be employees, but even within the Ubers and the Lyfts, there are people who don't need or want to be bound by working certain hours/certain number of hours/specified shifts.

Our country was founded by independent people - we are losing that right with each bill of this type.
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Deirdre
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ConnieTerwilliger wrote:
[The vast majority of SAG-AFTRA actors do not make the minimum to qualify annually for health and retirement benefits - and any money that the producer puts into the funds for them is gone for good.


Too few people realize this. That money props up the fund all right, but has no value at all to the actor in whose name it is paid.
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SteveToner
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ConnieTerwilliger wrote:

Yes, you have been paid as an employee - and Central Casting is set up with a big payroll department..


Technically it's a different company, Entertainment Partners, that handles the payroll. And they may be owned by Central Casting, but they process payroll for non-CC projects as well. For example, the projects I have worked on in Utah (Yellowstone, High School Musical, Good Joe Bell, ...) are not cast through CC but are paid through EP.

Quote:
Are these SAG-AFTRA background jobs? Or are some of the actors on the project SAG-AFTRA?


Yes they are. But I'm not in the union (yet Smile ). As I understand it, the way union jobs work is that they are required to hire some number of union workers, and after that they can fill the rest of the jobs with non-union.

Quote:
Is she supposed to join a large translation company and let them farm her out? Can she set her own hours? Set her own rates?


No, I think she becomes a temporary W-2 employee of the firm she is doing the translation for. And then is "laid off" when her project is completed. Don't see any reason why she couldn't set her own rates and hours. It really does seem like it could just be an accounting tweak on the employer end. "Employee" doesn't imply full-time or exclusive or going to work in tall buildings.

Quote:
there are people who don't need or want to be bound by working certain hours/certain number of hours/specified shifts.


Understood. Agreed. But I don't think that those are necessary requirements when one is considered an employee... Again, background acting is a particular example: I don't get to set my hours when I'm working - I've got to be there until they wrap, but that's understandable given the way they work. And I don't get to set my rates because it's a minimum wage, unskilled job. If I were hired for something more than my looks & had to audition to get the job, there would be more leeway for setting rates. But I do get to decide if I want to work on a particular call, and that's certainly more freedom than I had when I was a full-time employee at a large corporation.
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ConnieTerwilliger
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
No, I think she becomes a temporary W-2 employee of the firm she is doing the translation for. And then is "laid off" when her project is completed. Don't see any reason why she couldn't set her own rates and hours. It really does seem like it could just be an accounting tweak on the employer end. "Employee" doesn't imply full-time or exclusive or going to work in tall buildings.


OK, the fallacy with this is that now she qualifies for unemployment and the person doing the hiring is on the hook now. If a production company has to hire and lay off "employees'" after each project, it would end up killing that company.

It is called Employer Benefit Ratio:
"State unemployment agencies base each employer's unemployment tax rate on his record retaining employees. This is called an "employer benefit ratio," and it is determined by means of a formula that calculates the amount that the state has paid out in benefit claims tracked to this employer relative to the total amount that this employer has paid to employees in wages. The fewer unemployment claims made by workers who have been laid off by your employer, the lower his benefit ratio will be and the less he will pay in unemployment taxes."

We who work on multiple productions and for many different people understand how things work. To file unemployment after a project has been completed is simply something we are not wired to do. We know that work comes in waves. We don't need to be babysat by our government.

Many of these people are exempt if they meet the business-to-business tests, but the companies doing the hiring are canceling contracts because they don't understand what is going on and are wary of the potential penalties for miss-classifying.

No one is opposed to true employees getting fair pay and treatment - but these laws are unapologetic about their union focus.

Our country was founded by independent thinkers. The creative fields are particularly hard hit by this law. But, as you can see by the links I included, so many more have been affected and it is only the 1st of February.
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i couldn't agree more, connie. i'm sure illinois will be quickly behind CA in this. just another reason i'm shopping for a house just 60 miles south in kentucky. the exodus from states doing business like this is increasing by the year & the numbers are staggering.

hey - yuma is less than 200 miles away!
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SteveToner
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2020 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, I think "fallacy" was a little harsh. I think I would have used a different word. But I'll say no more about that, as this an interesting discussion and I don't wish to derail it.

Seems the unemployment hit on an employer is only an issue if workers claim unemployment. If you've got another gig lined up, you won't. If you're not wired to do it, you won't.

But now I have to shift gears because I've started to read the actual bill. Why doesn't 2750.3Coffee(1) apply? To you, to the translator?
Quote:
Subdivision (a) and the holding in Dynamex do not apply to a contract for “professional services” as defined below, and instead the determination of whether the individual is an employee or independent contractor shall be governed by Borello if the hiring entity demonstrates that all of the following factors are satisfied:

(See full text at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB5)

To Todd's point, I assume you hire people and are not just looking at this as a worker? Because I assume you would be affected just as much as a California resident if you were to do work for a California-based company under this law?
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steve - yes, i do hire folks, some from CA, and i have no clue how this applies to interstate business - it's a good question.

the bottom line, it seems to me, is form an LLC and the point is moot, right?
however - this law has more holes than my old boots -

insurance agents, for example, are exempt. how is an insurance agent NOT under my "control and direction ... in connection with the performance of the work"? which fails the "A" portion of the ABC test?

B ... wouldn't VO be covered under the "Workers Providing Professional Services" exemption? assuming they passed the borello test?

Quote:
maintain a business location separate from the hiring firm—this may include their residence

have a business license, in addition to any required professional licenses or permits

be able to set or negotiate their own rates for the services performed

be able to set their own hours

(a) be customarily engaged in the same type of work under contract with another hiring firm, or (b) hold themselves out to other potential customers as available to perform the same type of work, and

customarily and regularly exercise discretion and independent judgment performing their services.




i realize that i'm a grumpy old man on the verge of dropping out of polite society and becoming a hermit eating only what i grow or kill and only going to town twice a year to buy coffee, sugar and yeast ... but you can't change who you are.
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ConnieTerwilliger
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Todd, the new law clearly states that any form of "business" will work, if you meet the criteria. Sole Proprietors are specifically mentioned.

Many people are exempt (Sole props, LLCs, etc.) under the Business to Business rules, but what is happening is that the companies doing the hiring are simply NOT renewing contracts because they are unsure and don't want to risk the consequences. OR they are insisting on LLCs and other kinds of insurance - that are not needed or specified in the law.

It is a real mess.

Anyway, read the bill(s) and make your own decision.

If you are making a good living as a union talent, more power to you. The plain truth is that most union talent don't make enough to qualify for benefits.

It is the nature of what we do! It is subjective in many ways. We do not stand in line at the union hall and get the next job that comes along. It just doesn't work that way - never has.

So, we have to carve out our own space. We run a business and sell our customer service, our technology, our energy and our "talent."

I encourage voting issues and candidates, not party. Purple is a great color.
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