California Exempted Uber and Lyft From Classifying Drivers As Employees

Voters In California Exempt Uber and Lyft From Reclassifying Drivers As Employees

Uber and Lyft
Uber and Lyft. Image: Twitter/@KQEDForum

California voters passed Proposition 22, denying gig economy workers, including drivers for Uber, Lyft, and food delivery drivers, from being classified as full-time employees.

Prop. 22 will allow drivers for app-based transportation and delivery companies to be classified as independent contractors in many circumstances. The proposition does entitle drivers to new benefits like minimum earnings and vehicle insurance. Had Prop. 22 failed, the workers would’ve been classified as full-time employees, making them eligible for health benefits and standard minimum wages.

The proposition passed gaining roughly 58% of the vote in the state, according to The Guardian. The ballot measure was highly contested coming into Election Day. Drivers and labor groups opposed Prop 22, saying it would allow companies to sidestep their obligations to provide benefits while their CEOs make billions.

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and others claimed AB5, a labor law passed in 2019 that changes the way companies classify employees, would drastically change how they do business. Uber and Lyft even threatened to leave the state if Prop. 22 failed.

The Yes on Prop 22 campaign declared victory in their battle last Tuesday night and in a press release said it “was successful because it represented the best interests and preferences of hundreds of thousands of app-based drivers across the state, who made their voices heard in the media, on social media, and by making extensive voter contacts with millions of Californians.”

“This is a win for drivers across California. We’re grateful voters—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—came together to stand with the nearly one million drivers who overwhelmingly supported Prop 22 because it protects our ability to work as independent contractors,” Alfred Porche, an Army veteran who drives rideshare and delivery in California said in a statement. “This campaign was about listening to drivers and making our voice count. More than 120,000 drivers actively supported this campaign by talking with friends, family, customers, and voters across the state to make sure they understood that the vast majority of drivers want to stay independent contractors.”

Nicole Moore, a driver and organizer with Rideshare Drivers United, told the Guardian Uber and Lyft had a bigger war chest and more money, but a fight like this is never easy and they will not give up.

“We were outspent 20:1. We were outgunned. But we haven’t gotten this far because it was easy. We are fighters. And we punch above our weight. We stand strong when we stand together. We will fight – in the courts, in Sacramento and in the streets.”

Last month a California Appeals Court determined Uber and Lyft drivers are in fact full-time employees, but the vote on Prop. 22 negates that.