CTA first to file lawsuit against California's AB-5
In the continuing saga in California of independent contractor versus employee status that was codified by Assembly Bill 5 in September, the California Trucking Association is the first to file a lawsuit challenging the new law.
Speaking for the CTA, CEO Shawn Yadon said about the lawsuit, “AB 5 threatens the livelihood of more than 70,000 independent truckers. The bill wrongfully restricts their ability to provide services as owner-operators and, therefore, runs afoul of federal law.”
He went on to say, “Independent truckers are typically experienced drivers who have previously worked as employees and have, by choice, struck out on their own. We should not deprive them of that choice. Some of the country’s most successful trucking companies were started by entrepreneurial independent truckers."
“We can protect workers from misclassification without infringing upon independent truckers’ right to make a living in California,” he concluded.
It is expected that CTA's lawsuit will be followed by those from rideshare and delivery companies like DoorDash, Lyft and Uber. And California voters might be asked to vote on a ballot measure in 2020 challenging AB-5. Uber and Lyft have reportedly gathered upwards of $60 million to fund the ballot measure process.
In any event, Uber has announced it will continue to give independent contractor status to its drivers, and defend its decision in court if challenged.
The problem for independent truck drivers in California is that they have massive investments in their big rigs; but Part B of the new law's ABC test will make it impossible for them to function as independents in the state.
The bill basically codifies the provisions of the Dynamex decision from the California Supreme Court last year which determined that in order to be an independent contractor rather than an employee the worker must meet a three-pronged test:
The worker must not be under the control and direction of the company that has hired him or her -- as a matter of actual practice, and per the wording of the contract
The independent contractor must be doing a job that is outside of the usual work being done by the hiring company
The independent contractor must be normally engaged in the same trade, occupation or business as the work he or she is performing for the hiring company
It's the middle "prong" that independent contractors come up against as they typically haul freight for trucking firms that also manage their own fleets.
California's lawmakers expect that companies will oppose the law and fight it with legislation – characterizing trucking companies as having misclassified their independent contractor workers for years.
The CTA lawsuit asks for three "claims for relief."
The first invokes the Federal Supremacy clause which preempts state laws that are related to a price, route or service of any motor carrier.
The second invokes the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which protects the right to engage in interstate commerce free of undue burdens and discrimination by state governments.
Goodyear has been honoring Highway Heroes since 1983. Paul Mathias, a truck driver from Phoenix, received the 2019 award in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.
He was recognized for his actions during a fatal crash that he witnessed as he was stopped at a red light in Phoenix. A vehicle slammed into an SUV with a mother and her two children inside. He ran to the stricken vehicle and showed the mother how to perform CPR on her son, while he comforted the little girl as she was dying from her injuries.
He then returned to the little boy and successfully administered CPR to him until emergency crews arrived. The little boy survived.
In his acceptance speech, Mathias said this is “what we do out on the road.”
“Hopefully this is a wake-up call to a lot of people to stop and help,” he said. “There is good in this world, and that’s what we’re here for. To help each other out.”
The 2020 winner of the Highway Hero Award will be announced in March. The recipient will receive a special ring, a cash prize and a trophy. Finalists will also receive cash prizes.
Goodyear says the nominees must meet the following criteria:
Must be a full-time truck driver.
Must reside in the United States or Canada.
The heroic incident must have happened in the United States or Canada.
Nominee’s truck must have had 12 wheels or more at the time of the incident.
Nominee must have been on the job or on the way to or from work in his or her truck at the time of the incident.
Incident must have taken place between Nov. 16, 2018, and Nov. 16, 2019.
Finalists must clear background checks to Goodyear’s satisfaction.
Nominations also may be mailed to the Goodyear Highway Hero Award Headquarters; Dept. 798A; 200 Innovation Way; Akron, OH 44316.
Iowa incident is poignant reminder of Move Over law's importance
As a poignant reminder of the importance of observing the Move Over law the Iowa Department of Transportation has published a video of a sideswipe on November 8 that damaged three vehicles and injured one driver.
The incident occurred in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area on Interstate 380 when a vehicle that was not heeding the Move Over law sideswiped a DOT Highway Helper truck, and then proceeded to crash into a van that the helper truck was aiding.
The Highway Helper was OK, but the driver of the van was injured in the crash.
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