OPINION – Prop. 22, Uber and Lyft’s Ballot Initiative, Hurts Black Workers, Other Workers Of Color
Post News Group
I’ve been a rideshare driver with Uber for over a year and I’ve witnessed firsthand how companies like Uber and Lyft have consistently exploited low-income drivers and drivers of color.
For years, Uber, Lyft and other companies have advertised the benefits of working for them, highlighting flexible hours, livable wages and more. Alongside those promises were images of Black and Brown people smiling at the thought of the future they were being promised.
Uber and Instacart don’t represent Silicon Valley. Why we’re voting “No” on Prop 22
Today, I’m publishing a letter that I penned with Nate D’Anna, co-founder and co-CEO of Dumpling, about Prop 22 and the status of gig workers. Prop 22 is the California ballot proposition that would exempt app-based transportation and delivery companies from having to provide employee benefits (such as minimum wage, paid time off, and sick leave) to gig workers. We originally wrote this for submission to various news outlets, but wanted to re-publish it here.
We acknowledge that the views in this letter may be controversial, especially among our peers in Silicon Valley. But we felt a need to put a stake in the ground that we believe all workers deserve to be treated with dignity and to have a minimum level of benefits and protections. Nate and I share the view that we want to live in a society in which there isn’t a permanent underclass of workers who are treated poorly because of their lack of political or financial leverage, which Prop 22 would create.
Gig Work on the Ballot in California
In September of 2019, the California state legislature passed Assembly Bill 5. Informally known as the “gig-economy bill,” A.B. 5 aimed to address the challenges faced by people who drive for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and other similar companies; so-called gig workers, who are classified as independent contractors, do not receive fundamental worker protections, such as guaranteed minimum wage or paid sick days, no matter how much they drive. “We will not in good conscience allow free-riding businesses to continue to pass their own business costs on to taxpayers and workers,” the bill’s author, the assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, said, following its passage. Six weeks later, Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash launched a campaign to combat the bill. A spokesperson for the effort told the Los Angeles Times, “We’re going to spend what it takes to win.”
Cash-rich, Uber-backed Prop. 22 campaign scrimps on postage
Despite having a gargantuan $185 million to spend, the Yes on 22 campaign knows how to pinch pennies — via a tactic its opponents say is unlawful.
Proposition 22, the ballot measure to exempt Uber and Lyft drivers and other gig workers from being employees, got a nonprofit postal permit for its deluge of glossy mailers, allowing it to save millions on postage — even though U.S. Post Office regulations specifically say that political organizations other than political parties are not eligible.
“This misuse of the nonprofit permit coming from a corporate backed $200 million campaign is unprecedented and should be remedied by the Postal Service immediately,” attorneys for the No on 22 campaign, which is backed by organized labor, wrote to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Wednesday.
Gig Worker Groups Release Solidarity Letter Opposing Proposition 22
Proposition 22, supported by companies such as Uber and Lyft, would exempt the gig economy from reclassifying workers as employees.
On Wednesday, ride-hail driver and advocate groups from 6 major cities across the United States released a statement of solidarity reiterating their opposition to a California ballot initiative proposed by gig companies.
Proposition 22, as the initiative is known, is a ballot measure backed by app-based gig companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Instacart, and seeks to exempt the companies from reclassifying their drivers as employees.
Uber Forced Drivers to Click on Political Ads Ahead of Vote on Gig Worker Rights
The messaging has raised concerns that Uber is abusing its platform to sway drivers and customers for whom the app might be a primary source of information about California’s Proposition 22.
Uber forced customers and drivers to click on political pop-up ads on its app in support of an upcoming California ballot initiative, known as Proposition 22, which would exempt gig economy companies from providing all of their workers with basic rights and workplace protections, such as overtime pay, sick days, and unemployment insurance.
Uber, Lyft paid $85K to firm of NAACP leader who backs their ballot measure
Labor rights groups say California’s Proposition 22, which could decide the fate of gig work, will hurt communities of color.
Uber and Lyft have been refining their nearly $200 million effort to win a ballot measure campaign designed to keep gig workers classified as independent contractors in California. They’ve sent out mailers, emails, text messages and press releases and taken out ads. One of the many themes they’ve hit on is that “communities of color support Prop 22.”
Uber CEO says prices could double if drivers become employees, but this economist isn’t buying it
Economist predicts ride-hailing prices would increase by a fraction of Uber’s dire predictions for California, citing new data from New York City after it established a minimum wage for drivers.
Gig Companies Are Making Their Workers Promote Prop. 22
KQED – San Francisco
Even as gig companies spend a record amount of advertising money on Proposition 22, they’re making their gig workers help them market the ballot initiative.
Proposition 22 would create a carve out from California labor law to allow a handful of gig companies to continue classifying their workers as contractors, making them ineligible for employee protections and benefits like unemployment insurance and workers compensation.
The Gig Economy, Ride-Hailing and Sharecroppers
Technology has changed and will continue to change the workforce and the nature of work. Technological advances allowing people more control over when and how they work have resulted in the “gig economy,” in which companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and Postmates hire workers to perform tasks like giving rides or delivering groceries. That economy — and whether ride-hailing drivers and other gig workers have the same basic rights as other workers — is now the subject of one of the most expensive ballot initiative campaigns in California history, Proposition 22.