Sign language interpreter

Laura Seidelmann

I am a sign language interpreter. I mainly work for a school to help a fourth-grader, but during the summers when school is out, I work freelance on various interpreting jobs. All summer long, I choose the jobs that best match my schedule with my children, as well as their activities.

Why I want to remain an independent contractor: I love everything about freelancing: making my own schedule, being my own boss, the flexibility. I never have to ask an employer if I can take a day off to go to my child’s school. I just don’t take a job that day. As a freelancer, I am in control.

What will happen if S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law: I’m worried not only about how this legislation will affect my family financially, but I’m also worried about how it will affect my industry. The deaf community will be hurt. There are already so many jobs that go without interpreters that deaf people need, and this legislation would force even more deaf people to live without interpreters.

What I want lawmakers to do: Vote no on S863 (formerly S4204/A5936).

Instructor, Writer

Tara Nurin

I’m a freelance journalist, author and adjunct instructor. When I’m writing, I primarily cover drinks, dining and destinations for publications like Forbes, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast and NJ Monthly. I specialize in beer and spirits, and I co-host a weekly beer TV show in South Jersey. I also teach a for-credit beer course at Wilmington University in Delaware, run a beer-events firm, and serve frequently as a beer expert, judge and speaker. I’m also publishing the world’s first comprehensive history of women and beer.

I love the flexibility to set my schedule, work from home and choose my assignments. Also: Have laptop, will travel.

What will happen to me if S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law: To my great dismay, I’ll be forced to move to Philadelphia. This is not an idle threat. I have a dear friend who just moved to Alaska from Los Angeles to avoid being punished by California’s version of this draconian bill. I won’t give up my freelance career, which brings me joy, flexibility and the ability to travel the globe to pursue stories. I’ll give up on New Jersey instead.

Lawmakers, please listen: Please stop dismissing our educated arguments that this will affect us. There is no chance this bill will serve its intended purpose in the media business. No entity is going to bring us on as employees in the current economic landscape … not that we even want to work full-time for one employer.

Furniture assembly, Residential home inspector

Adam Tate

I own a furniture assembly business and work as a residential home inspector. I enjoy being an independent contractor in these lines of work because I have lots of flexibility with my time and income.

If S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law: I will lose the financial benefits of my independent contractor work. I will be forced to become a full-time employee in the home-inspection business, and I’ll likely lose the office-type projects that are usually larger and more lucrative for people like me. I’ll end up making less money. How is that protecting workers?

What I want lawmakers to know: I think that legislation to help exploited, misclassified workers is great, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead of writing a law that assumes we are all employees until proven otherwise, create an opt-out clause for independent contractors who have chosen this way of working, and who are not being exploited. I am not the same as a misclassified worker. We should not be in the same pool. People like me should have a way to opt out.

Massage therapist

Dana Watson

While I am fortunate to have secured part-time employment as a massage therapist with a hospice organization, it is not enough to sustain a living on its own. I rely on private elder clients, and I earn additional revenue through my company, Relative Touch, where I hire other independent-contractor therapists who are skilled in this massage niche. I pay them more than I pay myself.

What will happen to me if S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) becomes law: Not only will I lose one-third of my income from this revenue stream, but several independent-contractor therapists who work with me will lose about one-third of their income, as well. They depend upon this additional outlet where I secure clients for them, to supplement their own practices. All of our families will be hurt.

Why I prefer to be an independent contractor: Viable employment opportunities in the massage industry are rare. When available, the jobs are provided by corporate chains where therapists are overworked and severely underpaid, leading to an average of minimum wage at best. I can earn a better living by remaining an independent contractor and being my own boss. I can also do better work than offering cookie-cutter McMassages.

What I want lawmakers to know: If S863 (formerly S4204/A5936) passes, there would be little or no economic sustainability for thousands of New Jersey licensed massage therapists.

I do agree with your goal. We need a way to protect workers who are truly being exploited by larger companies. But this is not the way to do it. I’m not being exploited, and if this legislation passes, I’m literally out of business.

Online ESL Teacher

Micayla Weber

I wake up early in the morning to teach English as a second language to children in China. This type of job is perfect for me because I am able to finish work before my own four children wake up. After work, I can have the rest of the day to home-school my children, and to bring them to their various sports and activities. One of my children is autistic, and my being home eliminates the need to have to pay for child care.

Why I’m so worried about S863 (formerly S4204/A5936): This bill will take away my income, which will take away my ability to pay for my children’s karate, gymnastics and various other activities. It will take away our vacation funds, and funds we spend on home-school field trips. As a home-school mom, I know these extracurricular activities are very important to my children’s development.

What I want lawmakers to know: Independent contractors like the freedoms we have to set our own schedules, and to be our own boss. We do not want to be employees. We are grown adults who have chosen this line of work. If we wanted a traditional job, we would have chosen one.