I know I don't usually get too serious here, but I found out last night that New Jersey is trying to ram through a bill that would end my career. It would severely limit the ability for independent contractors who live in the state to do our jobs. It's based on CA AB 5 – but worse. It could also put small business out of business.
CA AB 5 is so bad that they're already making moves to revise it. It makes no sense to pass a similar bill – a worse bill – here.
Because it's being rushed through, most freelancers only found out about the potential of this bill last night. Testimony is at 10am *today.* They could vote on it as soon as *Nov. 25.*
If you're like me and can't make it, please please please submit written testimony right now to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. It's A5936/S4204.
I barely slept last night, and when I did, I dreamt about this issue. I'm not going down without a fight.
"My name is Jennifer Miller, and I am a full-time freelance writer living in Audubon. I have worked in this role for nearly 15 years (I write under the byline Jen A. Miller).
For 2019, I am on pace to have a gross income of $120,000. According to a recent crowd-sourced document of journalists salaries, I could, at my skill level, make $50,000 a year at NJ Advance, $61,000 a year at the New York Times, or $62,000 at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Even in my off years of freelancing, I still, on average, bring in more than any of the employment opportunities these newsrooms provide, even factoring in the costs associated with being self employed, and working about 30 hours a week to do so.
Especially given how precarious full time newsroom jobs are right now, I am grateful that I have been able to thrive in my field in a way that works best for me, and earns me more money that if I had a traditional W2 job.
However, if A5936 passes, my ability to earn a living will be severely curtailed. In fact, based on my workload right now, I would lose half my income. My peers in California are already losing work, both in and out of the state, just over fears over AB5. Employers aren't hiring them because of AB5. Instead, employers are either giving them less work, or canceling contracts all together, for work that was never meant to be full time of a full time workload.
California writers are contemplating moves. I was relieved that I wouldn't have to worry about that by living here – until now.
While I believe A5936 has good intentions, and that there is abuse in independent contractor system, this bill is being rushed through without full consideration of how it would affect people like myself, who earn an excellent living and have a better quality of life because she decided to take a risk and strike out on her own.
This is not an Uber or Lyft situation. This isn't even being forced to work on site for 36 hours a week without benefits. I earn double what I could in an office, and work from the comfort of my home. This is someone living the American dream, from her dining room table in Audubon, NJ.
I just bought this house in 2018. Please don't take away my ability to make a living, or force me to move. Because if this passes, I won't have another choice.
So I am asking you: please don't post this bill – at least not in this form. It will ruin the livelihood of entrepreneurs and drive good people and good talent out of the state."