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Uber, Lyft Drivers Speak Out Against Bill Aimed To Curb Independent Contractors

Dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers wait at the San Diego International Airport, ...

Photo by Priya Sridhar

Above: Dozens of Uber and Lyft drivers wait at the San Diego International Airport, September 2, 2019.

Assembly Bill 5, authored by San Diego Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, would limit when businesses and companies could classify people who work for them as independent contractors.

Thousands of workers in California, from Uber and Lyft drivers to nail technicians and hairstylists, would become full-time employees of companies and get access to rights and benefits like minimum wage, paid sick days and overtime.

Listen to this story by Priya Sridhar.

Not all impacted workers are happy about it. KPBS visited the San Diego International Airport ride-share parking lot on Labor Day and couldn't find any ride-share driver who favored the change. They typically said they like the freedom of not being an employee.

Reported by Priya Sridhar , Video by Anica Colbert

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"People who ride Lyft and do this are typically doing it because they like to do things in between doing other things: lots of entrepreneurs, college kids, all sorts of people, people from the military. I think if you tell them you have to work from this time to this time they're going to view this like any other job," said Chris Whitehead who has been driving for Lyft for a few months.

Uber driver Lesbia Cobian agrees with Whitehead.

"You buy your own insurance, you get your own workers' comp, you pay your own bills, you do your own time and you work as hard as you want or as little as you want. So I don't agree. It would be bad for me," Corbian said.

Gonzalez expects the bill to pass both houses of the legislature before they recess on September 13.

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