Today, I had an op-ed published in the Star-Ledger, which is the biggest newspaper in my home state of New Jersey. It explains how legislation that started out in California has now come here, and how it could wipe successful freelance journalists like me out of business altogether.
The crux of the problem is that we need to have a national conversation about the meaning of the term “independent contractor” in the age of the gig economy. Here in New Jersey, lawmakers are trying to solve a problem with improperly classified workers at companies like Uber and Lyft—who should be full-timers, but aren’t—in a way that loops all independent contractors into the chaos.
Independent contractors come in a lot of flavors, including freelance journalists like me, who are not misclassified. We’re independent contractors by choice, we’re successful and we pay our taxes. That’s why I wrote this op-ed, and why I hope that New Jersey’s lawmakers come to understand that they shouldn’t be solving one problem while creating an entirely new one.
And if you think it won’t happen in your state, think again: New York already has a version of this legislation on tap for 2020, and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has said she backs these types of laws. This is a New Jersey problem right now, but it’s a federal problem in the long run—and it matters to millions of people like me who earn their livings as independent contractors.