Uber wants to deny drivers benefits by classifying them as contractors. Now California voters get to decide.
Californians are set Tuesday to determine the future of ride-hailing and delivery apps, voting on whether drivers should be classified as employees or independent contractors.
The state ballot measure Proposition 22 would make drivers independent contractors according to California law. That would supersede a new law known as A.B. 5 intended to grant drivers full employment, including minimum wage protections, health care and such benefits as unemployment and sick leave.
Rideshare drivers, labor activists organize to pump the brakes on Prop 22
In an interview with El Tecolote, Christopher Christensen, local labor rights activist and Legislative Committee Rep for ILWU Local 34, called Prop 22 “an attack on decades of work on behalf of labor activists.” He explained that AB5 was the culmination of a long fight for workers.
“Without AB5, these people would not be afforded certain fundamental choices; as employees, rather than independent contractors, they incur worker rights,” said Christensen. “They have the opportunity to receive a steady base income for what it is they do. They get to decide whether they want healthcare, have the ability to organize, and a number of other benefits they would otherwise be robbed of.”
Letters: Support workers, vote no on Prop. 22
The article “Poll finds lukewarm support for Prop. 22” (Sept. 24) missed an important detail about the “gig” companies (Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart) campaigning to roll back the law that requires employee benefits and protections. Gig companies argue that treating their workers as employees is unaffordable. Yet these companies can never be profitable without removing the human element. Remember the hype about fleets of self-driving cars? Uber and Lyft were so eager to eliminate jobs they put their half-baked autonomous vehicles on the road before they were safe.
Rideshare drivers say Uber is co-opting anti-racist rhetoric
Protesters gathered in Oakland on Wednesday to denounce Uber for placing billboards in 13 major cities that say, “If you tolerate racism, delete Uber.” But their grievance was not with the idea that racism is wrong. To the contrary, the organizers and rideshare drivers with whom Salon spoke say that ridesharing companies like Uber do not practice what they preach — that they are, in effect, co-opting social justice rhetoric for public relations purposes. “I know Lyft and Uber,” Cherri Murphy, an Oakland resident and minister who says she has driven over 12,000 rides and has been a Lyft driver for roughly three years, told Salon. “A lot of folks know that essential workers are delivery people, rideshare drivers, folks that look like me, so they’re predominantly African American and people of color. We are pretty much the ones who are on the frontlines of the crisis and among the hardest hit financially, so as rideshare drivers, we do the work that’s been essential, and it’s been essential long before the pandemic hit.”
Uber drivers protest billboard campaign
“It’s hypocritical. You have a billboard that is purchased by Uber who have created a ballot measure [Proposition 22] that creates no protections for their essential workers who happen to be predominately Black and Brown, and most of them are immigrants,” said Cherri Murphy, a leader of Gig Workers Rising who drove for Lyft until March.
Coaches, musicians and more to be exempted from California labor law under Democratic plan
California Democrats on Thursday released a final package of exemptions to a new state labor law that requires businesses to give benefits to more employees, allowing more leeway for youth sports coaches, artists, appraisers and insurance field representatives to work as independent contractors. The proposed exemptions come in the form of Assembly Bill 2257, a “clarification bill” to the 2019 labor law known as Assembly Bill 5. The bill with proposed exemptions is backed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who was the main advocate for the new labor law. Gonzalez has said she knew AB 5 would have to be refined after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it last year. It’s been challenged in court by truck drivers and by gig economy tech titans like Uber and Lyft. A coalition of tech companies that includes Uber, Lyft and DoorDash is also seeking to exempt gig economy drivers from the law through a ballot initiative. The law restricts when businesses can label workers as independent contractors versus employees. It requires companies to give employee benefits to workers such as overtime and sick leave to more workers. The existing law requires companies to determine whether a worker is an employee using a three-part “ABC” test.
Press Release 8/10/20: Court Upholds Attorney General Title and Summary: Prop 22 is an EXEMPTION to exploit drivers
Uber, Lyft & DoorDash lose multiple legal fights as they relentlessly challenged the Attorney General
Sacramento, CA – Today the Third District Court of Appeal rejected a desperate last minute attempt by the app companies in their attempt to change the language voters see describing Proposition 22. The ruling represents yet another legal defeat for Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash – the authors and funders of Prop 22.
“The judge’s ruling today ensures that every Californian will know the unbiased truth when they fill out their ballots this November: Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are trying to buy themselves a special exemption to roll back drivers’ rights,” said Mike Roth, spokesman for the No on Prop 22 campaign.
The official ballot title for Proposition 22 will be: Exempts app-based transportation and delivery companies from providing employee benefits to certain drivers.
CDP WEIGHS IN ON BALLOT MEASURES
With the November election less than 100 days away, the California Democratic Party Executive Board has weighed in on the propositions set to appear on the general election ballot. In a statement released over the weekend, the party announced its official support for most of the ballot measures. Of the 12 measures appearing on the ballot, the California Democratic Party is endorsing all but three of them.
Proposition 22, which would re-reclassify rideshare and delivery drivers as independent contractors, after AB 5 reclassified them as regular employees. Under Prop 22, rideshare drivers would not be entitled to certain state protections, such as minimum wage, overtime and workers’ compensation. Instead, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft would be required to offer minimum compensation and health care subsidies to drivers based on engaged driving time, as well as vehicle insurance, safety training and sexual harassment policies. The California Democratic Party is recommending a “No” vote on this proposition.
Press Release 7/26/20: It’s Official: California Democrats Oppose Proposition 22 – the Special Exemption for Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash to Mistreat Workers
In a Unanimous Vote, Party Leaders Urge All Californians to Stand with Workers and Hold App Companies Accountable to Follow the Law by Voting NO on Prop 22
Sacramento, CA – Today the California Democratic Party officially endorsed a NO vote on the ballot measure written and paid for by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash: Proposition 22. In a unanimous vote, Party leaders roundly rejected the initiative – recognizing it as a cynical attempt by app companies to buy themselves a legal exemption to mistreat their drivers.
“Proposition 22 is a shameless effort by Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash to exploit their drivers for profit,” said Rusty Hicks, Chair of the California Democratic Party. “No corporation should be able to buy themselves a special exemption in the law to continue denying their workers the healthcare, unemployment insurance, and paid sick leave they are owed. This is a clear violation of our Democratic values, and we urge all Californians to vote NO on Prop 22.”
Uber, Lyft and Doordash wrote Prop 22 to benefit themselves, not their drivers. If passed, the measure would allow these companies to continue denying their workers a minimum wage, as well as basic benefits and protections like healthcare, paid sick leave, and unemployment insurance.
The California Democratic Party joins prominent leaders like Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Kamala Harris, and Senator Elizabeth Warren in endorsing a NO vote on Proposition 22.
Uber’s New Strategy: Buy Unprofitable Companies, ???, Profit
After Uber’s merger talks with food-delivery company Grubhub fell apart, Uber has now set its sights on Postmates, according to the New York Times. Uber Eats, the ride-hailing company’s food-delivery unit, is just as unprofitable as the rest of Uber’s business operations, but that hasn’t stopped the company from reportedly offering $2.6 billion to takeover Postmates.