Strippers debate labor bill with Assemblywoman Gonzalez

SAN DIEGO -- About two dozen dancers from local strip clubs gathered outside the state building downtown to speak out against a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) that would target employers who misclassify workers as “independent contractors” instead of “employees.”

The dancers say they like being independent contractors because they have the freedom to choose when and how long to work. “I don’t want to be told what to do -- when and where to work. That’s why I’m an independent contractor, not an employee," said Mary, one of the protesters.

The bill, authored by Gonzalez, codifies a recent state supreme court ruling that forces businesses to prove workers are independent contractors and not employees. “The court already decided on exotic dancers -- they are employees. Clubs are cheating their workers. This bill doesn’t affect these folks," said Gonzalez.

AB 5 would affect businesses like Uber, Lyft and Doordash which use workers who like the flexibility.

“The bill will ensure they’re paid minimum wage, get paid (overtime) if they worked more than 40 hours a week. It will make sure they have workers compensation -- ensure they have healthcare," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez believes those workers are misclassified as independent contractors.

“An independent contractor is supposed to be a small business. Do you really think every Uber driver is their own small business?" asked Gonzalez.

The bill went through a hearing this week and will be heard in the Labor Committee early March.

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