Franchisors & freelance workers fight AB5

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Freelance workers and franchisors are fighting back against the passage of Assembly Bill 5, which went into effect in January of this year.

Deli Delicious is a Valley grown franchise. Lately, it's one of the hundreds of brands or franchisors finding itself being impacted by Assembly Bill Five.

"What AB5 mistakenly has done is include that business owner as the employee of the brand, which doesn't apply to any logic," said Ali Nekumanesh, Deli Delicious Franchising Executive V.P.

Vice President of Deli Delicious franchising, Nekumanesh explains the brand owner, known as franchisors, could be responsible for the actions of a franchisee or local owner.

"The franchisor has no involvement in the Human Resources aspect of the franchisees, the only involvement they have is to protect the brand," Nekumanesh said.

The bill is impacting those in the franchise business and independent contractors.

"That is designed to squeeze out part-time freelance contract labor in favor of classifying all those individuals as employees," said Andreas Borgeas, State Senator.
Borgeas says the bill has many consequences.

At a recent town hall meeting, the room was packed with part-time professions, from drivers to therapists to interpreters. Many were concerned about the livelihood of their jobs.

"What they're going to do is hire interpreters from outside of California, so interpreters in California are going to lose work," said Rebecca Rubenstein, a court interpreter.

Over two million people in California identify as gig workers.

Opponents of AB5 say they are working with their legislators to find a solution. As for senator Borgeas, he says there's been so much interest in town halls, he could possibly host another one in the future.
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