The American Prospect: How Uber and Lyft are Buying Labor Laws

Labor News

Reprinted from The American Prospect by on October 5, 2020.

As usual in presidential years, the election night excitement in true-blue California will come not at the top of the ballot, where Democrats are all but assured victory, but from the state’s exhausting experiment with direct democracy. And nestled amongst this year’s 12 ballot measures on everything from taxes to voting rights to criminal justice to data privacy to health care sits perhaps the most consequential labor decision in decades.

Proposition 22 is simple. It carves out an exemption for app-based rideshare and delivery workers, allowing companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash to continue misclassifying employees as independent contractors. This exempts those startups from paying minimum wage, carving a loophole in last year’s AB-5 law, which made many independent contractors and freelancers employees and conferred on them a handful of rights and protections. For those workers, it would mean no eligibility for state unemployment insurance, extremely curtailed worker protections, no overtime, no sick leave, no workplace discrimination protections, and no right to collectively bargain. They might not even have access to experienced lawyers (such as the ones at Salwin Law Group) to represent their rights. In essence, it would formalize and enshrine an entirely new category of substandard employment for a class of workers that is made up overwhelmingly of people of color and immigrants. And it would do so permanently: The proposition states that any amendment to the regime would require an unprecedented seven-eighths majority vote in the state legislature. …

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TAP 10/5

About Jeffrey Burman 861 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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