By Paul Benfer-
I believe the potential for confusion is great once California moves forward with implementation. Due to the sheer number of owner-operators in California (70,000+) it’s just not plausible to believe it will not be a bumpy ride for at least some time.
Anticipate New Jersey following form quickly with Scotus refusing to hear the case. New Jersey law (S863) that mimics AB5 and was proposed back in early 2020. New Jersey pulled the law, as the courts stayed AB5 in California. Now that the appeals process is dead, look for New Jersey Governor Murphy to resurrect the bill. If that happens, the two largest port states will fall into uncertainty, as the great majority of port drivers are owner-operators (80%+).
When AB5 first passed a few of our West Coast partners planned to become freight brokers. Such a move would force independents to secure their own authority and insurance to stay in business. I am sure the carriers that become brokers will develop a program to retain their driver base with assistance to secure insurance and authority.
A few drivers will go to work for established port carriers where the driver base consists of company employees. The Teamsters believe that this will help unionize port carriers and build up their membership base. I am not so sure that will happen, as there is a reason why owner-operators dominate port transportation. Anecdotally, a few of our carriers talk about how their owner-operators cherry pick loads and take time off randomly. That lifestyle doesn’t fit an employer-employee model.
Any radical change to a situation that hasn’t operated well in its current state will only become more chaotic if not managed properly. Please prepare for higher costs and disruptions as AB5 is rolled out.