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.
What Prop. 22’s defeat would mean for Uber and Lyft — and drivers
One way or another, the business of summoning a ride from your phone is likely to look different in California after Nov. 3.
The future of gig work could hinge on the success or failure of Proposition 22, called the App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative. Uber, Lyft and other companies bankrolling the initiative say it would improve workers’ quality of life, providing new benefits while preserving their autonomy. If passed, the measure would cement gig workers’ status as independent contractors, dealing a huge blow to a labor movement striving to bolster protections for workers at the margins.
Gig companies’ business models rely on hiring large numbers of workers cheaply as independent contractors to provide rides, deliver meals and groceries and perform other services. Assembly Bill 5, a state law passed in 2019, aimed to expand protections to these workers, requiring gig companies to reclassify them as employees.
‘How long can this last?’: California gig workers struggle to pay bills during COVID-19
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Uber and Lyft driver Erica Mighetto waited, waited and waited for a ding on her app taking her to her next ride.
She sat in her car in the Bay Area for hours, trying for whatever she could get. When she was starting out more than three years ago, she said she could have earned $1,200 to $1,500 in a weekend working in the Bay Area. Her pay kept dropping, she said. But during the pandemic, her pay plummeted to almost nothing.
Uber, Lyft Are Spending Millions To Fight Labor Protections For Their Workers
How organized labor is teaming up with app-based workers in California to take on corporate giants.
About a year ago, Steve Smith stood outside a press conference at a hotel in Sacramento where Uber, Lyft and DoorDash announced plans to spend millions on a statewide ballot initiative that would exempt them from a state law requiring the gig economy companies to hire most of their independent contractors as employees. If the workers became employees, they would be entitled to benefits, paid leave, expense reimbursement, the right to collectively organize and other labor protections. Smith, who works for the California Labor Federation, wasn’t allowed in the room so he tried to listen through the door.
Organized Labor Fights Uber and Lyft’s Prop. 22
San Francisco Weekly
Union members see the tech-funded initiative as a direct attack on the working class.
Gathered on the grassy steps of Yerba Buena Park and out in front of the St. Regis Hotel, members of the unions Unite Here Local 2 and SEIU Local 87 chanted slogans and spoke to all who would listen on Monday, Sept. 7 — Labor Day.
Janitors, housekeeping staff, food concessionaires, and waiters shouted above the din of honking horns, and a megaphone-touting Shahid Buttar, championing various causes. The workers demanded better pay and benefits, decried descrimination in the workplace, and urged voters to reject Proposition 22.
Human Capital: Prop 22 puts the ‘future of labor’ at stake
Welcome back to Human Capital, where we look at the latest in tech labor and diversity and inclusion.
Because election day is quickly approaching and given that California’s Prop 22 puts the “future of labor” at stake, as Instacart worker and co-organizer at Gig Workers Collective Vanessa Bain told TechCrunch this week, we’re paying close attention to this ballot measure. Gig companies like Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart have put more than $180 million into Prop 22, which seeks to keep their drivers and delivery workers classified as independent contractors.
She was a farmworker. Her grandson is a Lyft driver. A fight for workers’ rights unites them
The Guardian (UK)
When Maria Cardona organized in the 1960s, management hit back with Proposition 22. Now her grandson is tackling a new version of the measure.
More than 40 years ago, Maria Cardona laid her livelihood on the line to demand change in the hot central California fields where she picked grapes and other produce for $1.75 per hour.
Cardona, now 80 years old, was tired of how farm workers like her were treated – the low wages, the backbreaking labor, the days without access to cold water or bathrooms. Most of all, she was tired of the disrespect from her bosses, who she said would regularly shout at workers in the field.
Op-Ed: Will voters side with the continued exploitation of gig workers?
For the past half century, employers have increasingly classified their workers as independent contractors. It is said that approximately 8 percent of American workers use independent work as their primary activity, a 22 percent increase since 2001.
More pronounced in trucking, product delivery work like Federal Express, it first emerged in transportation where it is more difficult to monitor worker behavior. But there are other obvious incentives: no social security; no minimum wage or overtime; no unemployment compensation; no sick pay; family leave or workers’ compensation; no reimbursement for travel expenses; registration; insurance; licensing and automobile depreciation; and no protection under anti-discrimination law. A growing precariat, disproportionately Black, brown and immigrants, competing with one another was particularly easy for the new on-demand economy to manipulate.
Opinion: When did we start trusting corporations to draft laws?
Prop. 22 ads do not accurately portray the lives of full-time ride-hail drivers
You can create a lot of influence with $200 million. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my social media feeds and websites are completely inundated with Yes on Proposition 22 ads these days. They show up during commercial breaks. I’ve received text messages. I’ve even seen them on the same webpage as this column.
The future of rideshare drivers in California heats up with Proposition 22
CBS – San Diego
SAN DIEGO — The fight over the future of rideshare drivers is back on the ballot in Proposition 22. Your vote will either keep drivers as employees of the rideshare companies or change them back to independent contractors.
For a more in-depth look at Proposition 22, click here.