Pelosi, Schumer Push Nationwide Mandate That Could Decimate Freelance Workers’ Jobs

P. Gardner Goldsmith | February 16, 2021
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There’s a motto most people view as words of encouragement, and it suggests, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Sadly, generations of power-hungry politicians operate under the same philosophy, and their efforts are seeing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) push an awful, tragic idea that previously was shot down by the formerly Republican-controlled Senate.

It’s called “The PRO Act” (for “Protecting the Right to Organize”), and if it sounds familiar, that might not solely be due to the twin towers of collectivism pushing it in past sessions.

It’s because a similar idea already passed in the California Assembly, attacking freelance workers and those who would like to hire them.

Brad Polumbo sounds an important warning, via The Foundation for Economic Education:

Among many other things, the bill would severely restrict the legal definition of independent contractors in a way that would largely end the gig economy as we know it.

And, of course, the politicians employ their NewSpeak to claim they’re “protecting” workers by threatening them and their potential customers, telling them how to engage in peaceful interaction, and adding to the fascistic burdens already lumped on private industry and freedom in this, the so-called “Land of the Free.”

And as Polumbo notes, the PRO Act is hauntingly reminiscent of California’s AB5, which has wrought havoc on freelance workers in that state because it redefines “gig” or “independent contract” employees.

On this federal level, the “independent contractor” working more than a certain amount for one employer would have to be considered a regular, full-time employee.

The PRO Act would outlaw millions of existing jobs with the stroke of the president’s pen. 

After all, it would make illegal any independent contractor arrangement where the worker provides services within ‘the usual course of the business of the employer,’ meaning jobs like Uber drivers, Doordash drivers, Instacart grocery deliverers, and more could not exist as we know them.

In the case of California, the collectivists there used their threats of state violence to pass AB5, forcing employers and freelancers to list as “full-time” all freelancers who performed more than 35 tasks per year, virtually wiping out opportunities for freelance writers, occasional transcriptionists, Uber and Lyft drivers, and many more, and inspiring some politicians to scramble for an exception for the bigger companies, like Uber and Lyft, to slip under the jack-booted government kicks.

As I mentioned at the time, the bill clearly was written to force employers to have to give health insurance to freelancers – a move that, itself, compels people to act as the politicians prefer and which messes up even more of private economic calculation as employers and freelancers try to escape the diktat.

And now, Democrats are looking to do the same thing at a federal level. Said Chuck “Orwell” Schumer of his legalistic threat:

I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to put more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans, creating a foundation that provides livable wages to our families.

Of course, Schumer isn’t starting his own business and offering work to people - he’s telling others how to run theirs. That doesn’t “put more money” into the pockets of hard-working Americans. It stops people from engaging in voluntary contract and breaches his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.


As the House “Education and Labor Committee” (where is that enumerated in the Constitution?) offered in its recent Press Release:

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act is a major step toward ensuring that workers can exercise their basic right to form a union and collectively bargain for higher pay, safer working conditions, and decent benefits – including paid leave, quality health care, and a secure retirement.

Which inspires a few thoughts.

First, in addition to there being nothing in the Constitution that allows the feds to have anything to do with “education,” the Constitution’s Interstate Commerce Clause only allows Congress to act as a body that can resolve trade disputes between the states as governmental entities, not to control commerce and how people will engage in voluntary exchange.

Second, people are free to form unions if they want to, when the form of work and the senses of potential workers and employers coincide. Potential freelancers are free to join a group that agrees to work only for businesses that promise X, Y, or Z benefits. Likewise, business owners should be free to hire them or go elsewhere, just like customers (every person in the exchanges here is a customer and a seller of something to the other parties) should be free to trade or walk away.

The freedom is restricted by the politicians, who engage in gun-backed threats, telling peaceful people that if they don’t conform to the political diktats, agents of the state will target them. That’s not “protection." That’s legislative violence.

The federal “PRO Act” now has a high probability of passing, and, once passed, will be depicted by the media as “protecting” people anytime someone proposes repeal.

The water gets warmer. Will the frogs jump out?