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California legislature passes AB5 gig-work bill, which could turn contractors into employees

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Needless to say, this could obviously have a major effect on pro rasslin' and its fraudulent "independent contractor" bullshit - at least in the state of California.

Quote

State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, who co-authored the bill, began Tuesday’s debate by blasting tech companies and some traditional employers, saying they have, for decades, exploited workers with false contractor labels. 

“Let’s be clear, there’s nothing innovative about underpaying someone for their labor and basing an entire business model on misclassifying workers,” Elena Durazo said.

More at the link: https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/amp/Senate-passes-AB5-gig-work-bill-turning-14430204.php

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At worst, California won't see any WWE shows for a while like how Oregon was left off the loop back in the day when they required drug testing. 

Don't get me wrong, laws like this are a start, but until something happens on a federal level it will be easier for companies to just do business elsewhere. 

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Interesting dilemma for WWE ahead: would they pass on a major market like Los Angeles just for the sake of avoiding that bill?

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1 hour ago, SirEdger said:

Interesting dilemma for WWE ahead: would they pass on a major market like Los Angeles just for the sake of avoiding that bill?

As opposed to the impact it would make to give up the ghost on the independent contractor BS? Absolutely.

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And then they can wait until a governor changes it back to the old ways and they can have a big PPV there again and give that person a world title belt and declare the USA is the greatest country in the world or something.

I wonder about the AEW contracts BTW. Guys like MJF definitely are "independent contractors" as they also work MLW for now, but most of the exclusive deals probably don't allow that, especially once they get on TV.

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One thing that  might be key here is there were a few other states looking to do bills like this and were basically looking for someone else to do it first to get  any potential heat over it. Since CA took the plunge it will be easier for other states to follow suit now, and considering the Ubers and Lyfts of the world pissed off a lot of people with their practices, this may be something WWE and AEW have to address rather than ignore.

It won't kill all wrestling in the state though, since indy companies are the ones who's talent actually are independent contractors. It would only affect companies who restrict their wrestlers from working for other companies. 

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Yeah, I wonder what AEW's stance would be on that situation. So far, they've thrived on being an alternative to WWE and doing things different - yet having exclusive contracts for most of their talents. Could they reverse course just to one-up WWE and stick it to them?

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2 hours ago, JerryvonKramer said:

Naturally this will just kill wrestling in California.

Dave was talking about New York following suit. Might be tough for WWE to avoid both of the key states for national media. And if there's momentum behind this, it could be a standard policy at least in Democrat states and rolled out nationally depending on how 2020 goes.

Hopefully it works out good for the workers, both in wrestling and the gig economy.

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AEW declaring their wrestlers are employees would be good PR and another way to distinguish themselves from the "evil empire", plus it would be a great recruiting tool that would force WWE to either change their stance to adapt or risk ceding ground to the competition. 

Lest we think Vince would never do such a thing, remember they started offering guaranteed deals after WCW started luring away their top stars by doing it. Another reason why it's good to have competition in wrestling, it pushes WWE to do things they will never do without it.

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Also this reminds me of both the US and UK governments looking into regulating loot boxes in video games, and game companies making fools of themselves by trying to say with a straight face that the gambling mechanics they put in their games are not gambling due to semantics. They brought it on themselves, just like WWE will when the day comes where they can no longer pretend the people who's careers they control aren't employees.

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I don't think this will kill indy wrestling in California, incidentally. Indy wrestlers are very much closer to being independent contractors than guys under contract to major promotions. There are also certain business size minimums (I think 24+ employees or more) that business would have to meet to be affected by this bill, which I don't think most indies qualify for.

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1 minute ago, JerryvonKramer said:

If WWE ran Cali today with the Bolsheviks on the card, they’d likely get cheered.

God, there's every chance that the next American election will just be both sides accusing the others of being The Ruskis 

Hope it at least leads to a new push for Rusev

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All kidding aside, I don’t see this bill working for wrestling because of the nature of the business. Not all jobs can work like being a high school teacher with benefits and a pension. 

 

If it was brought in Federally, Vince would trade off by hiring fewer workers or reducing pay to offset. In either case the aggregate effect would be to hurt the boys more than it helped them. The net beneficiaries would be people who’d already be making so much money as top stars that they don’t need extra protections.

 

If this bill had been in play let’s say in 1970, there’d have never have been a Pretty Boy Larry Sharpe. Most guys wouldn’t have even got into the business.

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1 hour ago, JerryvonKramer said:

All kidding aside, I don’t see this bill working for wrestling because of the nature of the business. Not all jobs can work like being a high school teacher with benefits and a pension. 

 

If it was brought in Federally, Vince would trade off by hiring fewer workers or reducing pay to offset. In either case the aggregate effect would be to hurt the boys more than it helped them. The net beneficiaries would be people who’d already be making so much money as top stars that they don’t need extra protections.

 

If this bill had been in play let’s say in 1970, there’d have never have been a Pretty Boy Larry Sharpe. Most guys wouldn’t have even got into the business.

If Vince McMahon can only grow his business to the size that it is by offering illegal contracts (because the issue in question is the independent contractor status) then his business shouldn't be the size that it is.

And a smaller WWE doesn't necessarily mean less work if you believe that there's a market for the amount of wrestling content that they provide. If that's the case, then other companies would have room to pick up the slack and you'd see an expanded ROH, Impact etc. Because as it is, WWE is hoarding talent beyond what it could possibly use which hurting companies further down the pecking order. And that hoarding is surely not going to last forever whatever the circumstances.

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15 hours ago, SirEdger said:

Yeah, I wonder what AEW's stance would be on that situation. So far, they've thrived on being an alternative to WWE and doing things different - yet having exclusive contracts for most of their talents. Could they reverse course just to one-up WWE and stick it to them?

If his other business practices are indicators, I wouldn't count on Shadid Khan to be any better than Vince McMahon.

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4 hours ago, JerryvonKramer said:

All kidding aside, I don’t see this bill working for wrestling because of the nature of the business. Not all jobs can work like being a high school teacher with benefits and a pension. 

 

If it was brought in Federally, Vince would trade off by hiring fewer workers or reducing pay to offset. In either case the aggregate effect would be to hurt the boys more than it helped them. The net beneficiaries would be people who’d already be making so much money as top stars that they don’t need extra protections.

 

If this bill had been in play let’s say in 1970, there’d have never have been a Pretty Boy Larry Sharpe. Most guys wouldn’t have even got into the business.

What promotions in 1970 signed wrestlers to full-time exclusive contracts and had billion-dollar TV deals?

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4 hours ago, Herodes said:

Stick to your JvK gimmick rather than your Not AA gimmick on pwo 

Not an argument.

 

Considering incentives and long-run effects has nothing at all to do with "gimmicks".

 

The beauty of this is that we do not at all need to argue about it, we can just wait and see and the results will speak for themselves.

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1 hour ago, NintendoLogic said:

What promotions in 1970 signed wrestlers to full-time exclusive contracts and had billion-dollar TV deals?

 

Plenty of promotions made fantastic money in 1970. In his book Bill Watts talks about working Bruno in the 60s and making $1,000 per show. Adjusted for inflation that's just under $8,000 today. Watts worked 36 dates for WWWF in 1965 alone -- pretend he made even half of that per show and he still made around $146,000 adjusted for inflation that year just in New York. Watts worked big St. Louis dates that year also, so he likely made more.

 

Just one example, and a top guy, but the idea the guys were making peanuts back in the day is untrue. Larry Sharpe, who I mentioned here, got $500 for wrestling Inoki in 1980 (just over $1,500 today) and on the back of that was booked for a NJPW tour. He made $1,000 (over $3000 today) for wrestling Ivan Putski at MSG the same year. This was essentially a job guy.

 

If this bill had been in operation over that period I very much doubt Watts or Sharpe would have been getting those pay days.

 

Let's say Vince can afford this -- fine, he likely can -- the net effect will be to make it *that* much harder for his nearest rival to turn over a profit. That's the chap Khan running All Elite from what I read. You might say "well he can afford it too" -- fine. But you've just made it that much harder for any indie that gains momentum to ever be anything more than a two-bit indie.

 

The nature of the business is such that it will always be a "gig economy". You can't have an industry of only homesteaders.

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1 hour ago, PeteF3 said:

Wrestlers in 1970 and indy wrestlers of today really were/are independent contractors. Ones under exclusive deals aren't anymore.

 

You're essentially advocating giving Ted DiBiase Jr benefits and a pension in 2008 and us still being stuck with him on TV every week today.

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