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Prop 22 Passes, App-Based Drivers Stay Independent Contractors

Lyft and Uber stickers and a bobblehead figurine are visible in the front win...

Photo by Jacob Aere

Above: Lyft and Uber stickers and a bobblehead figurine are visible in the front window shield of a car, Nov. 5, 2020.

Prop 22 has passed in California which means ride-hail and delivery drivers will continue to be treated as independent contractors, not as employees.

Rideshare and food-delivery companies are celebrating a big win, and so are some app-based drivers.

Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

Lyft and Uber driver Michael Elia said he is happy to be staying an independent contractor.

“When we signed up to work with Uber we signed up as independent contractors. That's what we agreed to do,” Elia said. “And I like it because that way I can do my own hours, I don't have to stick to any schedule or have anybody tell me what to do. It’s my own business.”

Critics of Prop 22 have argued it undermines the spirit of AB-5, a bill authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez who said in a statement that the bill is intended to ensure workers aren't exploited by gig companies.

“My cause today is no different than it was yesterday: demand fairness for working Californians and fight back against corporations trying to buy our democracy,” the Gonzalez statement said. “I trust the drivers will organize, persist, and lead the way to making this is a reality. It remains to be seen what paths forward exist on the state and federal level, but I’m honored to be in the fight with them.”

The campaign for Yes on Prop 22 was backed by more than 200 million dollars in funding from Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Uber-owned Postmates. That makes it the costliest ballot measure in California's history.

Steve Smith is the Communications Director at California Labor Federation and says the battle won’t end here.

“We think this is a really dangerous precedent and we are going to be continuing to look at ways to support gig workers as well as all workers in the state of California going forward,” Smith said.

Proposition 22 received 58.4% approval and will still offer some benefits to independent contractors who work for ride-hailing companies including stipends to buy health insurance, accident insurance and some guaranteed level of pay.

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Aired: November 6, 2020 | Transcript

Election 2020 news coverage

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Photo of Jacob Aere

Jacob Aere
Freelance Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a freelance reporter. In addition to covering the latest news and issues relevant to San Diego, I seek the overlooked voices of our community to tell their stories.

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