California has signed a bill into law that threatens to eliminate the flexibility that workers have as independent contractors using app-based rideshare and food delivery services. In response to this, Proposition 22 was created and put on the ballot.
AB-5 was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September of 2019 and went into effect in January. The bill enforced that companies who hire independent contractors must reclassify them as employees so they can be offered full benefits and do proper background checks.
Proposition 22 was created in opposition to the bill to keep transportation and delivery drivers classified as independent contractors, maintain flexibility in drivers’ schedules, still allow drivers to receive benefits and expand public safety protections.
According to an analysis by the Berkeley Research Group, “Forcing app-based delivery and rideshare drivers to become employees would result in eliminating 900,000 jobs, reducing the number of drivers needed in California by 80 to 90 percent.”
“The reason why I started as a food delivery worker was due to COVID-19 cutting back my hours at work and me not being able to pay off bills that I need to pay off monthly,” said Fullerton College student Viet Doan.
The measure requires companies to provide drivers with new benefits including:
· The guarantee of at least $21 per hour
· Health care benefits at 15 hours per week
· Insurance for injuries on the job
· Increased protection against discrimination and harassment
Also included in the proposition is stricter background checks on drivers, as well as establishing a zero-tolerance policy for those who have alcohol and drug offenses.
Those against Proposition 22 shed light on the fact that many workers for these companies are people of color and should have access to healthcare, sick leave and unemployment benefits.
A study conducted by the University of California recently found that over 70% of drivers for Uber and Lyft work 30 or more hours per week, meaning that many are not part-time and are not offered the necessary benefits a regular job would offer.
“I think there are some benefits for Prop 22 but for me, I personally don’t think it’s going to benefit me because I am a part-time worker for DoorDash,” said Doan.
The flexibility to create their own schedules around other jobs or family needs is what’s pushing app-based drivers to continue working as independent contractors.
“The type of freedom that I currently have working as an independent contractor is the ability to start any time I want and not work anytime I want,” stated Doan. “ I can go on my phone, open up the DoorDash app and start making delivery’s in select areas and make quick money or make up for the money loss from not working at my other job in the week.”
So far, the campaign to vote Yes on Proposition 22 this upcoming Election Day has received $181.4 million in funding from five of these companies including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, InstaCart and Postmates, making it the highest-funded ballot measure overall.