A three-judge federal appeals court panel has ruled that federal law does not protect interstate trucking employers by preempting California’s draconian independent contractor law.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges voted 2-1 that a federal law called the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA), does not preclude application of the state’s AB 5 contractor law to trucking companies operating in interstate commerce.
Trucking employer groups immediately asked the full court to review and reverse the panel’s decision, which could soon result in removal of a stay blocking AB 5’s application to trucking.
Under the state law, those who work in the same line of business as the firms who contract them must be considered employees, and not contractors.
Early last year, before the new law went into effect, a federal district court judge granted an injunction barring the state from enforcing it against interstate truckers while the court heard their argument that federal law pre-empted the state statute.
However, the same law could be coming soon to where you operate if Congress succeeds in passing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act), a bill favored by unions and strongly supported by Democrat legislators and President Biden
If enacted, the PRO Act would outlaw right to work laws in states, authorize secondary boycotts, institute card check and subject management to personal civil liability for labor law violations.
It also would apply California’s AB 5 law for contractors nationwide. The bill already has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and now is under consideration by the Senate.
Legislative efforts seeking to replicate California’s law also have been mounted in other states, and federal agencies like the Department of Labor have grappled with the issue over the years. One thing is certain – it’s not going away anytime soon.