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This story is part of the Entrepreneur & # 39; s Campaign For Our Careers, which aims to raise awareness of the harmful effects of the PRO Act. Click here to learn more about the campaign.
Jay Hosty is on his seventh truck in 39 years and 3.3 million miles hauling everything from toilet paper to coffins across America's streets. He owns his own facility. He chooses the routes he drives and the goods he transports. He makes sure he's rarely away from home for more than a weekend in a row, so he can not only support the six children he and his wife adopted into their Diamondhead home, but also play an important role. Mississippi.
"I hope I can spend another 20 years in good health," says Hosty. “I'll be 59 in July and I really love what I do. I hope to be able to drive until I am 80 years old. "
However, this would likely not be possible if Congress passed the Right to Organize Act or the PRO Act. The ABC test is aimed at companies that employ self-employed contractors in all possible occupations and classify these contractors as employees under labor law. Those affected include owner-operated truckers like Hosty, who says the idea doesn't make any sense.
“I am completely independent,” he says. “I go on vacation whenever I want and I don't really contact anyone. I have total freedom to do what I want. I am not an employee. "
Hosty is just one of 63 million parents in America, many of whom, along with the country's 53 million caregivers, were beaten even harder than usual during the pandemic. Two-thirds reported feelings of anxiety, depression, or thoughts of suicide, compared with one-third of other Americans. About 85 percent of the people who care for both children and adults – the "sandwich generation" – have had mental health symptoms.
Part of that sandwich generation, Kara Gray says the fact that an independent business owner is the pressure relief valve that continues to get her and her family through tough times. She writes marketing and public relations content from her home in Dallas, West Virginia, an unincorporated community with fewer than 500 residents. She has been making a living as an independent contractor for 17 years, serving clients far beyond the region, raising two daughters and helping her parents while her mother battles Alzheimer's disease.
“The freelance opportunity allows me, when my dad has a doctor's appointment or needs a haircut, to stay with my mom for a few hours while he takes care of things,” says Gray. “Or he can bring her to my house and I can entertain her for a while when he goes and does things. That was really important during Covid. All day care centers for adults were closed. Places with drop-ins, where you could put a person in their situation for a few hours, which were all closed. "
The flexibility that independent contracting offers is a key reason why so many women – who continue to do most of the upbringing and caring – say they prefer to be their own boss. Even before the pandemic, 73 percent of self-employed women said they had a better work-life balance and 59 percent said they were less stressed.
Allison Grace Herrera is among them. She is 30 and had her first child shortly before the pandemic closed. Her sister was moving in with her in North Carolina, and the help meant Herrera could be there for Baby James while growing her freelance editing business.
"I couldn't do 40 hours a week at the moment, and that pays off better than what I did full-time," says Herrera. “I'm much less stressed, I can enjoy things and be here. My son had his first ear infection two fridays ago and he needed me. I let my people know that I would be gone and I didn't have to worry. "
Gray says she makes at least twice as much as a full-time job in rural West Virginia – and enough to support her family if her husband, a 25-year union carpenter, is laid off. You spoke to friends about the PRO Act and found that many union members disagree with union bosses pushing the legislation.
“We are a very unionized family and come from a very industrial area with lots of carpenters, operators, workers, pipe fitters – we know a lot of people like that. When I tell them about it, they say, 'I don't support this,' ”says Gray. “They all say, 'A union is as American as an apple pie – but it's also entrepreneurship. Shouldn't we all be there together? ""
Hosty hopes that the courts will use the PRO Act to divert lawmakers from their current path. In fact, the entire trucking industry is watching whether the US Supreme Court will approve a lawsuit against the state of California after lawmakers enacted similar ABC testing laws there. Most truckers are independent contractors in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, who handle more than 30 percent of America's container freight. Around 77 percent of drivers in the Port of New York and New Jersey are also owner-operators. A win in the US Supreme Court against California's ABC test bill would likely give a break to lawmakers who say California has set the standard the nation should follow with the ABC test in the PRO Act.
Such a judicial victory would be ideal, says Hosty – especially since he and his wife want to continue looking after children in addition to the six children who have already been adopted.
"Hopefully," he says, "we will win and not have to give up what we are doing."
How to contact your Senator and your US House Representative asking them to vote no against the PRO Act.