AIIC USA Conference Interpreters Position Statement on Assembly Bill 5
If interpreters' freedom to choose contractor status is curtailed, our competitiveness will be drastically reduced.
The Honorable Assembly Woman Lorena Gonzalez
The Honorable John Portantino, Chair of Appropriations Committee
The Honorable Patricia Bates, Vice-President of the Appropriations Committee
The Honorable Senator Jerry Hill, Chair of Senate Committee AB5
The Honorable Senator Mike Morrell, Vice-Chair Senate Committee AB5
The Honorable Senator Hannah Beth Jackson
The Honorable Senator Holly J. Mitchell, 19th District
The Honorable Senator Richard Pan, 6th District
Ms. Caitlin Vega, Legislative Director, California Labor Federation
Mr. Michael Young, Legislative Advocate, California Labor Federation
Dear Honorable Officials,
The United States chapter of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC) represents over 190 members in the United States. Conference interpreters provide essential linguistic support to meetings that generally last one to five days and change from city to city, even country to country, and importantly from client to client. Most of our members have chosen to be independent contractors to meet the requirements of the market. The short duration of projects, their geographic variability and different language combinations require us to chose our dates, clients and projects wisely and strategically. Our ability to do so and thus our livelihoods would be severely undermined by employee status.
Our members are sophisticated and highly educated entrepreneurs. We generally hold master’s degrees or higher and undergo continuous training. We manage our businesses in every aspect. Each interpreter-entrepreneur invests thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours a year in their business. Each is responsible for setting their own rates, doing their own professional development, accounting, marketing, project preparation, quality control, invoicing, and taxes. We receive requests for services from dozens of clients every year and freely accept or reject them according to an assessment that only we are able to make. We weigh the subject matter, language fit, quality of the sound and other technical conditions, other proposed members of the interpreter team, and of course our scheduled commitments to other clients.
We salute efforts to protect workers forced to accept contractor status inappropriately. However, we choose this status out of a business necessity. If this freedom is curtailed and we are forced to become employees, our competitiveness will be drastically reduced, possibly beyond repair. Our livelihood and the well-being of our families will suffer significantly.
Through our profession’s long history in the United States and abroad, the independent contractor status of conference interpreters has been shown to work. We respectfully ask that conference interpreters’ freedom to choose independent contractor status be respected and that the profession of conference interpreter be included on the list of professions exempted from the employee status requirements of California Assembly Bill 5 and the Dynamex Decision.
AIIC USA Region Chair / AB Rep