- The California Trucking Association told Transport Dive more than 70 industry groups plan to ask Gov. Gavin Newsom for more time to comply with AB5, the state's landmark labor law.
- The coalition will express concerns with the law in a letter to the governor this week, said Eric Sauer, CTA senior vice president of government affairs. The Supreme Court earlier this month declined to take up a challenge to the law, which requires owner-operators to work as employees of the carriers for which they haul loads.
- The coalition members have “huge concerns with the recent denial and the impact [AB5 is] going to have on the already strained supply chain system in California,” Sauer said. More than 70,000 truck drivers could be sidelined by the law, according to the CTA.
After the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the AB5 case, the state trucking association is “pulling as many levers as we can, both through the courts and … the governor's office” to give members more time to understand the law and ensure their compliance, Sauer said.
Both the California Trucking Association and the Harbor Trucking Association, which represents drayage carriers, are giving the same advice to carriers who might be affected: Get a lawyer.
“It's really all you can do,” said Matt Schrap, Harbor Trucking Association CEO. “Outside of the employee model, you need a legal pathway.”
Carriers who contract with owner-operators are hungry for advice about how to comply with the law. More than 100 CTA members tuned into a webinar the association hosted with a law firm last week to clarify options for owner-operators and carriers who contract with them, Sauer said.
The Supreme Court’s denial set the stage for AB5’s enforcement in the next few months, Sauer said, depending on a lower court’s schedule and the outcome of the coalition’s request to the governor.
“We're still discussing with our attorneys our legal pathways and the timing on how and when that will be,” Sauer said.
Bryce Mongeon, director of legislative affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said AB5 has created uncertainty among his members in advance of enforcement. The group plans to join any future challenges to the law, he said.
“Does this apply to businesses … located in California? People that live in California? Do you just drive through California?” Mongeon said. “Who does this apply to? You have people who are wondering, can I continue to run in California under my current business arrangement?”
“It's hard to see how this isn’t going to be very disruptive,” he said, adding: “No one knows how the state's going to enforce this.”