Ride-share drivers protest proposition 22, urging voters to vote ‘NO’

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – On of the propositions on the ballot for the upcoming election is Proposition 22.

Prop 22 would consider app-based drivers to be independent contractors, and not employees or agents. Something many of the drivers prefer, and the companies support, but some want to be classified as employees.

As a result, the ballot measure would essentially override the “gig-worker” law, AB 5. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez authored AB 5, and San Diego Mayoral candidate co-authored it. Both of whom still support the bill and don’t believe it has negatively impacted Californians.

Unions are big supporters of AB 5, and are leading the way in the fight to oppose Prop 22. If Prop 22 fails, AB 5 stays intact and union influence in California politics will grow.

In August, both Uber and Lyft threatened to shut down operations in California if they were forced to treat their drivers as employees. They said implementing a change of that sort would be impossible to do overnight.

Lyft told riders and drivers in a blog post that it planned to discontinue providing rides in California just before midnight tonight, unless a court grants a stay in a pending case. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had repeatedly said its service would have no choice but to stop providing rides in California if the state’s law goes into effect because the company can”t afford to hire 50,000 drivers as employees quickly enough to comply.

The shutdown would have been a major blow to two companies that still haven’t proven they can make money, even as they have held down their expenses by treating drivers as independent contractors who don’t receive the same benefits as their full-time employees.

The unavailability of the two ride-hailing services also would have delivered another blow to the California economy by taking away the paychecks of Uber and Lyft drivers while also making it more difficult for people without cars to get around. That’s why the mayors of San Diego and San Jose, California — two of the three largest cities in the state — joined forces this week urging the appeals court to block the law from going into effect.

“Being forced into a situation where shutting down service is the only viable option hurts everyone at a moment when we need to pull together to help more Californians make ends meet,” said San Diego Mayor Faulconer, a Republican, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, a Democrat.

An appeals court ended up allowing ride-hailing giants Uber and Lyft to continue treating their drivers as independent contractors while an appeal works its way through the court. So, Californians have still been able to enjoy the services at their convenience and drivers can drive, when they wish to drive.

But, a group of ride-share drivers took to the streets Thursday in Los Angeles in opposition of of Prop 22, urging voters to vote “NO.”

Organizers of the event say they believes drivers deserve paid sick leave and their rights as full-time employees.

Supporters of Prop 22 say they only drive for the companies because of the flexibility.

RELATED STORY: California court gives reprieve to ride-sharing giants Uber and Lyft


Categories: California News, Politics