California Trucking Association takes AB 5 fight to U.S. Supreme Court

The California Trucking Association is approaching the U.S. Supreme Court to quash Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) — state legislation that essentially makes it impossible to work as an independent owner-operator in trucking.

“We believe the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) prohibits a state statute such as California’s AB 5 that clearly abolishes the historic role within the trucking industry of independent owner-operators,” said CEO Shawn Yadon, referring to the legal action known as a petition for a writ of certiorari.

U.S. Supreme Court
(Photo: istock)

“In California, more than 70,000 owner-operators choose to work independently because of the freedom, flexibility and business growth potential that business model provides. These small-business entrepreneurs face irreparable damage should AB 5 be allowed to exist as it relates to the trucking industry.”

California Assembly Bill 5 was established to protect gig economy workers like those who drive for ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. But the three-part “ABC test” used to define an independent contractor says they must perform work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.

Groups including the California Trucking Association (CTA) and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) believe independent owner-operators in trucking would run afoul of the rule.

The CTA’s legal argument is based of the federal aviation rules that prevent states from enforcing regulations relating to a price, route or service linked to transporting property.

“It is our hope the United States Supreme Court will take up this urgent matter of national significance and we are asking the country’s highest court to fully consider the question of FAAAA pre-emption of the ‘all or nothing’ ABC test and resolve the circuit conflicts that exist on this issue,” Yadon said in the written statement.

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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  • I believe that anybody who drives a truck that is owned by the company they work for or a leasing company should get a base wage of 20 per hour with 6 months experience and go up 1 dollar per hour with each additional 1200 hours of experience until the base wage for local drivers is US$23 per hour for local drivers and OTR drivers should make $US4 more plus medical a and disabled benefits. If sick or disabled truck drivers try to use homeless shelters for medical care they are sometimes told to make their own arrangements based on my own experience. Owner ops getting paid percentage or own their tractor though other financial institutions or outright or have their own authority should be required to show they have disability coverage to avoid the payroll portion requirements. In Ontario I do volunteer at a number of homeless shelters. And California is right to try to protect the truck drivers and the nonprofit sector cannot afford to look after sick and injured gig workers