California prop 22, what is this all about

I don’t live in California, but tonight while watching a streaming service I saw a lot of commercials for prop 22 in California, which is about gig workers working for companies like uber and lyft. I’d never heard of this prop before tonight since as I said I’m not in the state, I’m pretty far away. Not sure why I was seeing ads for it.

The commercials made it sound like they were in favor of the employees, but the third commerical mentioned it was funded by groups like uber, doordash, etc. which made me realize its going to be an anti-worker, pro-corporate law.

So I looked online a bit but I really still don’t get what this prop is about. My impression is that gig companies like uber, lyft, etc spent $200 million to try to get an exemption from a recent CA law designed to give more worker protections to gig workers.

California is a pretty progressive state, how do people there feel about it? Will this be a yes or no vote from what people there see? Are there genuine worker benefits from voting yes on prop 22, or if it does pass will it pass because it is misleading and made to sound like a pro-worker ad?

The law that Prop 22 is trying to change was really well intentioned, and has stopped many greedy companies from screwing over temp workers, “contractors” etc. That is good.

But the law on unintended consequences means that the law screw over many Gig worked who really WANT to be Gig workers. That was bad.

I am not sure how well this prop rectifies the bad, while keeping the good. I am leaning towards a No vote.

Ballotpedia is your best source:

I found this article, I felt it was informative.

I’m leaning towards this being a wealthy corporation driven effort to block worker protections, no different than calling union busting ‘right to work’. I just don’t know if the workers themselves understand what prop 22 is about and if they actually support it, or how they feel about the bill.

The ballot measure would classify app-based rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft as well as delivery and delivery drivers, like those who work for DoorDash and Postmates, as independent contractors. The proposition is trying to disregard Assembly Bill 5, which went into effect in January, requiring these Transportation Network Companies (TNC) to treat drivers as employees.

Prop. 22 would exempt app-based delivery companies from providing drivers the employee benefits such as minimum wage, overtime, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation that they had just obtained through AB5. Still, the proposition claims it would provide drivers with an earnings minimum, a health insurance stipend and vehicle insurance. Critics say this offer is dubious at best.

Here is one thing I do know. NY is considering a law similar to California’s that would make it harder to be a gig worker. My daughter is a free-lance copy editor and this law would destroy her livelihood. Sure she works for publishers for whom editing is a major part of their business, which is the kind of thing the law outlaws. She used to work for a major publisher, but finally couldn’t stand the company any more and quit, knowing how free-lance work there was, liking the idea of setting her own hours, etc. She loves the free-lance work. And NY state is about to outlaw it.

The ads for 22 say it provides benefits to the drivers. It does guarantee 120% of the minimum wage to drivers - but only when they have a fare. A driver is not guaranteed a minimum wage for the time they are on call. Which doesn’t count the car expenses the driver is responsible for, which reduces the effective wage still further.
There are plenty of part-time workers around who are not independent contractors.
I’m voting no.

I don’t know what the NY proposal is, but the original California law included free lance writers, but they removed them from the list of those who would become considered employees. My wife is a free lance writer, so we followed this closely.

Same with musicians and some others.

I live in CA. Here’s my opinion, taken from a huge group of three of my friends who drive Uber and Doordash.

Primarily, California is trying to reclassify them as part-time employees, so they have to pay blah-blah tax etc. However, for most of the drivers in this situation, they do it as an income supplement, working whenever they feel like it, with no set hours or responsibilities. Prior to Covid, my friend took care of her kids when school was out, drove them to sporting events and band practice, etc. If they didn’t have any practices or events, she’d take those 3-4 hours, and drive for Doordash, which could add up to an additional hundred bucks during the week. Now, with Proposition 22 trying to pass, she’d have to have defined hours she’d be working, and there would be blah-blah tax to deal with. This would completely blow her work-when-I-feel-like-it plan.

The main argument for it is that it protects the individual worker by ensuring minimum wage, getting benefits, etc… However, this defeats the purpose for the majority of folks that work it - They do it when they want to, for as long as they want to, and get paid per delivery or per ride.

My opinion? If this passes, it’ll kill these services for a lot of people, because it will make costs increase dramatically.

Correction: If this fails

Voting Yes will keep the status quo, maintaining people as independent contractors. Voting No may turn them into employees.

Ugh. Sorry. I hate these ones where no means yes, and yes means no.

I apologize.

I do live in California and I am trying to decide how to vote on this. I have a few friends that are voting no because it only benefits drivers (Uber, Lyft, doordash) and not the independent contractors in other industries. They would like to see a proposition that repeals all of the restrictions.

I have asked my Gig friends, and so far one says she is undecided. So it is not clear cut even for Gig workers.

I just spent 1+ hours reading the materials linked here and in the other thread. (Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chron, Ballotpedia)

LAT and Chron seem to agree that AB5 is flawed; Prop 22 which purports to address those flaws for gig drivers is flawed;
yet LAT recommends NO while Chron recommends YES.

Their differing recommendations seem to turn on which vote they think is the lesser of evils. Both argue that this should really be addressed more comprehensively by the Legislature. It is on the ballot here because of the failure of the Legislature to do so.

To clarify again which vote means what:

  • Gig drivers were originally independent contractors.
  • AB5 supposedly turned them into employees.
  • Additional legislation and lawsuits have turned some other employees (writers, journalists, photogs, musicians, etc.) back into independent contractors.
  • Uber, Lyft, etc. stand accused of failing to implement AB5, and this is in the courts now.
  • So the current status for gig drivers OUGHT to be that they are employees, but it’s unclear (to me) what their ACTUAL status is.
  • Be that as it may:
    – NO on 22 means they remain (or should be) employees as per AB5.
    – YES means they revert to being independent contractors, exempt from AB5.

Link to essay in Los Angeles Times.
Link to essay in San Francisco Chronicle.
Link to Ballotpedia page on Prop 22.

ETA: I’m leaning towards voting NO, on the theory that this will more strongly pressure the Legislature into taking up the matter.

I am a gig worker (in neighboring Nevada). I have not had what most people would call a job for nearly 30 years now. I am not a driver for Uber or Lyft, tho: I am an actual gig worker, doing lighting for stage shows, trade shows, television, films, etc.

Prop 22 is a blatant attempt by corporate interests to be able to fuck over the people working for them, and make no fucking mistake about it: the drivers work for the companies. Period. That’s the end of it.

Any problems with scheduling, with defined hours, etc. could all be solved easily either through legislation or through the organization of drivers into a collective bargaining unit which can then write up a contract allowing any defined or non-defined work hours or weird pay structures or “health care stipends” or whatever else they all want in the contract.

But AB5 is a good law. Among other things, it reduces the nonsense in employment, removes uncertainty from the employee’s life (to some degree) and helps to stop the enablement of the wealthy in controlling the lives of those without the same financial and legal resources.

If I lived in California, I would vote NO on Prop 22.

AB5 was in response to a CA Supreme Court decision that sought to create a test of whether an employee was or wasn’t an employee of a company and made an “ABC” test to determine that. This proposition was created to overturn the will of the court and the legislature. I prefer we leave this in control of the legislature and not overturn theirs and the courts authority by amending the CA constitution. This is a blatant attempt to overrule that due process, and I voted NO.

Story today in Raw Story all about Uber and Lyft and Prop. 22.

This is a full-length op-ed, not the usual TL;DR synopsis kind of story that Raw Story usually publishes. It purports to tell “the story behind the story” of Prop. 22.

The gist seems to be that the ride-sharing business model, as it currently works, is failing and Uber and Lyft are losing money, and this proposition seeks to lock in the paltry treatment of drivers at public and environmental expense.

So let it collapse and not prop up a failing business model by amending the CA constitution. That’s not what propositions should be used for, propping up failing business models and rent seeking, and channeling workers into those models sans benefits due de facto employees. Vote NO

Zombie thread, arise!

Today a judge said “no”:

Down the road three judges might say once again “yes” as the voters intended.

Not living in California, I haven’t paid much attention to this law. But I noticed something in an article about the recent judgement. The law requires a seven-eighths majority in the legislature to amend it. How is that provision not unconstitutional? Or perhaps a better way to put it, how is that enforceable?