Op-ed by Edan Alva: Protect gig workers: Don’t override AB 5 in November
UC Berkeley – Daily Californian
It is a common theme throughout U.S. history that the rich get richer, and the poor — people of the working class who help generate wealth for the rich — get poorer. This was true 200 years ago, and it remains true to this day. Over the past decade, new technologies have created and enabled an increasingly exploitative gig economy, ride-hailing apps being a perfect example. At first, the ride-hailing business model showed great promise. It thoroughly succeeded in disrupting the taxi industry. Transportation became cheaper, and wait times lessened. Service even improved; some drivers would offer passengers snacks or bottles of water. As for drivers, they seemed to benefit too, from what seemed to be the ultimate flexibility: They could work whenever they wanted. But there was a catch. By aggressively misrepresenting itself, the gig industry managed to classify its workers as independent contractors instead of employees. For years, wealthy gig corporations ostensibly ignored their obligations to their workers, obligations that all other employers fulfilled. That is, until 2018, when the California Supreme Court adopted a new, stringent, three-factor test to determine whether a worker should be classified as an independent contractor or an employee.