by Emily Greene | July 26, 2023

Competition is a word that has deep roots in free-market ideology but has been twisted and manipulated by many on the Left to sell a top-down, Washington-centric approach to public policy which, ironically, does nothing to spark competitiveness. Take President Biden’s Competition Council, which the administration defines as an Executive Order to “ promote competition in the American economy.” Among the names appointed to the task force are POTUS-nominated cabinet appointees, with Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su at the top of the list of voices. Su has been no stranger to headlines over the past few months, as her record of anti-competitive labor policies are being brought to the forefront of national news ahead of Senator Schumer’s attempt to confirm Su as Secretary of Labor—albeit, unsuccessfully as even the Democratic caucus does not have the votes to do so.

Julie Su’s history of anti-competitive, pro-control policy is best summed up by her support and enforcement of Assembly Bill 5 during her tenure as California’s Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development from 2019-2021. This legislation, known colloquially as A.B. 5, threatened the livelihoods of millions of Californians by instituting a convoluted and unworkable “ABC” test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or a traditional employee. Ultimately, this legislation upended thousands of independent contracting jobs due to the burdensome regulations that followed the results of the three-pronged ABC test. Californians who relied on gig work, such as Uber, GrubHub, and other flexible work opportunities, were left without the ability to set their own schedules or make a living in a way that makes sense for themselves and their families. This was a big problem for California—and Su’s rise to the national political stage serves as a massive problem for the over five million reported gig workers across the country.

According to a recent paper published by the University of Chicago, over five million employees filed earnings through platform-based independent contracting and gig work. In fact, Uber reported a record-high number of employees at the end of 2022, citing 5.4 million employees through their flagship rideshare company and Uber Eats, their platform for gig-based food delivery. Given these numbers, a federal approach to California’s AB 5 would be detrimental for millions of Americans who rely on flexible work to care for their dependents and make an honest living.

There is one demographic of American worker that is most impacted by an ABC-style classification test: the American mother. According to DoorDash, a food delivery service that allows for flexible scheduling, 60% of the company’s female employees report that they are parents or caregivers, and the flexibility of the role allows them to care for their dependents or loved ones. In fact, 73% of the company’s female employees shared that they took up DoorDash to “make up for lost income”. American mothers need flexible income opportunities—and the AB5-style approach to worker misclassification strips them of their ability to seek out these employment options.

“Bidenomics”, or President Joe Biden’s top-down approach to quote “improve” the country’s economic outlook, includes the PRO Act: the administration’s efforts to replicate AB 5 nationwide. Amongst many things, it would also prevent right-to-work legislation in many states, which allows employees to opt out of unions in the workplace. In states where right-to-work legislation exists, the economy booms. Right-to-work allows for higher wages and higher earnings for employees by removing the stifling regulations that come with union work. Pennsylvania is not a right-to-work state, and in fact, the union influence recently inspired Harrisburg Democrats to introduce House Bill 950, which was an attempt by the House to pass a constitutional amendment that would forever prevent Pennsylvania from becoming a right-to-work state—and forever prevent Pennsylvania’s economy from competing with states such as Florida, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

Though the Commonwealth’s outlook can seem bleak, Americans for Prosperity thanked the Minority Chairman of the House Labor and Industry Committee, Representative Ryan Mackenzie, for standing up for workers and opposing HB 950. In a quote, the Representative from Lehigh County shared, “We want to make sure that individuals have the right to join, or not join a union. That is their personal choice and it is up to them…We want to make sure that when they get into those jobs, they aren’t facing unnecessary burdens or licensing requirements.”

Though Pennsylvania is not considered by many economic experts to be a competitive state, we can get the Commonwealth back on track. By opposing House Bill 950 in Harrisburg, and opposing the PRO Act in Washington, we can ensure a competitive, free-market driven job market for Pennsylvanians working in all industries. Check out, sign your name to our growing list of advocates from every corner of the state, and stay in touch to hold your members accountable to you, the taxpayer. That’s send an email directly to your member’s inbox. Help us fight to make Pennsylvania more competitive for all.

(Emily Greene is Deputy State Director of Americans for Prosperity-PA)