Press Release 09/17/20: Civil Rights Icon Dolores Huerta Calls on Californians to Reject Prop 22
Says App Companies’ Deceptive Ballot Measure Will Permanently Deepen Racial and Economic Disparities in California
Sacramento, CA – Labor icon and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta today called on voters to reject Uber, Lyft, Doordash’s $181 million campaign to exempt themselves from key labor laws in California by curtailing their workers’ rights to paid sick leave, healthcare, a minimum wage, and unemployment insurance.
A lifelong advocate for initiatives that protect workers and consumers, Dolores Huerta said the app company measure would deepen racial and economic disparities in California. By eroding minimum wage protections, Prop 22 would lock a workforce that is predominantly people of color – and almost a quarter Latino – into permanently low-wage jobs.
“Latinos and communities of color have always borne the brunt of predatory business practices like the ones Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash have used to rake in billions off the backs of their drivers – and Proposition 22 will be no different,” said Dolores Huerta. “Californians can already see straight through the measure’s deceptive rhetoric to know that it will benefit the companies only, making it impossible for drivers to earn a living wage. We will not allow a handful of billion-dollar corporations to roll back decades of hard-won progress on historic labor law protections for workers. I’m urging all Californians to vote NO on Prop 22.”
Vote no on Prop. 22 to protect drivers and customers (Op-Ed)
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco has a proud history of standing up for working families. But now Uber, Lyft and others are attempting to use a deceptive statewide ballot proposition, Proposition 22, to force us to stand down. For more than a decade, this city has been on the forefront of workers’ rights. To protect workers from falling into abject poverty, San Francisco mandates a minimum wage higher than the state’s and pegs it to inflation. In 2006, we were the first city in the nation to require employers with 10 or more workers to provide up to nine days of paid sick leave. And when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, I worked with my colleagues to protect workers and the people they serve. We passed ordinances providing up to two weeks of emergency leave to workers affected by the virus and a requirement that app-based delivery employers, like DoorDash or Postmates, provide workers with personal protective equipment.
Lyft Enlists an Uplifting Maya Angelou Poem for an Inspiring Campaign to Repress Workers
Ridesharing app Lyft has conscripted a few lines from a Maya Angelou poem to demonstrate its commitment to BIPOC and underserved communities, while simultaneously spending hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure that its employees, half of whom are POC according to Statista, are fucked when it comes to fair wages, unemployment, and health insurance. Inspiring! Lyft used cherry-picked lines from Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning” to launch its LyftUp campaign, which promises to offer “free rides to communities who lack access to food, jobs, and essential services.” The segment features a diverse cast of happy drivers and riders merrily en route to work in cities like Oakland and San Francisco. However, one of the myriad problems with Lyft purporting to have a positive impact on the lives of those living in California, particularly the Bay Area, is that it’s a bald lie. This is evidenced by reports of the company’s drivers sleeping in their cars because as independent contractors, they are saddled with all the costs of maintaining the spotless vehicles featured in the shiny ad, while being paid very little for their actual labor.
Uber and Lyft Drivers’ Fight Against Independent Contractor Status Isn’t Going Away
Uber has crossed the line yet again with its opportunistic decision to put up a billboard declaring cynically that “If you tolerate racism, delete Uber. Black People have the right to move without fear.” The legal scholar Veena Dubal, who has recently been the target of Uber for her support for ride-hail workers, wrote on Twitter: “Can’t decide if this is gaslighting or cognitive dissonance.”
Letters: Firms pushing Prop. 22 to escape responsibility
The economic hardship as a result of COVID-19 has shown how important government benefits are for working people. Unemployment insurance for those laid off or state disability for those who are physically unable to work have been lifesavers for millions. California workers can also get SDI if they need to leave their jobs to care for an ill or disabled relative. These benefits are for employees. The billionaires at Lyft and Uber are spending more than $100 million to ensure that these life-saving protections are not available to their drivers. They wish to roll back the protections provided in recently passed AB 5 by financing Proposition 22. Proposition 22 would take away these benefits for these workers, who if they became ill and unable to work would likely end up homeless and on welfare.
Veena Dubal: Why Uber and Lyft are taking a page out of big tobacco’s playbook in labor law battle
The Guardian – UK
Uber and Lyft are waging a scorched-earth regulatory battle to avoid providing basic benefits to their drivers, now considered essential workers, in their largest US market: California. In response to a lawsuit by the California attorney general, Xavier Becerra, a judge found the companies’ drivers to be employees and ordered Uber and Lyft to act accordingly – including by providing a living wage, unemployment benefits, state-mandated sick leave and full reimbursements for expenses like cleaning and personal protective equipment. The companies have responded by threatening to lay off tens of thousands of workers. Their goal is to extend the crisis until November, when Proposition 22, a referendum written and sponsored by the gig companies, will be voted on. Prop 22 would create a special exemption from California employment laws just for these companies, while also pre-empting local regulation. The companies have taken a page from big tobacco’s political playbook to avoid complying with wage laws and basic aspects of the social safety net in exchange for the labor of their majority immigrant and people-of-color workforce.
No on Prop 22 caravan left West Sac for the capital on Labor Day
Valley Community Newspapers
Cars decked out in No on Prop 22 signs caravanned from West Sacramento to the State Capitol on Labor Day morning. Dubbed the “Sick of Greed! Labor Day Caravan – No on 22”, the caravan sought to honor gig economy workers by urging the public to vote “no” on the App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative, which is on the ballot for the November 3 general election. Fabrizio Sasso, the executive director of the Sacramento Center Labor Council of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, said traditionally on Labor Day, the AFL-CIO holds a number of events, but because of the pandemic affecting everyone they decided to do a socially distanced caravan. “We are working with the folks on No on 22 because it is the most dangerous proposition on this year’s ballot and we felt it was appropriate to let people know that they need to vote No on 22 and Labor Day is a perfect day to get that message out,” Sasso said.
Op-ed by Driver Derrick Baker: Uber Is Hurting Drivers Like Me in Its Legal Fight in California
New York Times
— I love to drive. Before Uber, I was a car service owner-operator for 10 years and got a thrill out of meeting new people while making my way around San Francisco, a place I’ve called home for over 30 years. I drove my black Mercedes sedan full-time five to six days a week, and counted myself lucky. When my wife died in 2011, I stopped, taking time to grieve. I first heard about Uber when I came back in 2017. It seemed like a godsend. My friends in the car-service industry were quickly switching to the app, making as much money or more than when they were operating on their own. It felt like a win-win. In hindsight, I can see it was a classic bait and switch. After undercutting the black-car and taxi industries to direct consumers (and drivers) to Uber, the company turned on us, cannibalizing the very market it helped create. In my first couple of years driving, Uber announced driver rate cuts that meant the portion of the fare the company kept would be higher than what I took home. After accounting for waiting time and other expenses like gas and wear and tear on my car (all costs I have to cover), I’d be lucky if I got $10 per hour. That’s not even minimum wage in San Francisco.
Uber may face big fines for stonewalling on sexual assault data
Los Angeles Times
Uber has spent nine months battling California regulators’ demands for detailed information on sexual harassment and assault claims made by its customers and drivers. The company’s favored legal strategy of asking forgiveness rather than permission will face a fresh test Tuesday, when an administrative law judge will hear testimony to decide whether to recommend hefty penalties for its refusal to cooperate with an inquiry by the state’s Public Utilities Commission. The hearing, scheduled for 1:30 p.m., follows a July 27 ruling upholding the five-person commission’s authority to investigate complaints in order to promote rider safety — authority Uber has allegedly flouted in failing to answer its questions and submit required data.
‘A totally different ballgame’: Inside Uber and Lyft’s fight over gig worker status
Labor activists are targeted in a social media campaign as gig economy companies spend millions to prevent workers from becoming employees.
“If the pandemic has shown anything, it’s that all workers deserve affordable health insurance, paid sick leave, a minimum wage, overtime pay and access to a social safety net,” says Mekela Edwards, a full-time Uber driver and member of the driver group We Drive Progress, which represents 6,000 drivers. “That’s why I am working really hard to help defeat Prop 22.”