Propositioned on Prop 22 - The Apps Strike Back


US-TRANSPORT-RIDESHARE-DEMONSTRATION

US-TRANSPORT-RIDESHARE-DEMONSTRATION

The pro and the con sides of one of this year's ballot measures have been trying to hail voters' attention. Proposition 22 is at the center of a battle for workers' rights and companies like Uber and Lyft who want to keep employees as independent contractors. KFI's Kris Ankarlo spoke with both sides to help us understand what's at stake for drivers in November.

Here's what your vote would mean according to Ballotpedia:

  • A "yes" vote supports this ballot initiative to define app-based transportation (rideshare) and delivery drivers as independent contractors and adopt labor and wage policies specific to app-based drivers and companies.
  • A "no" vote opposes this ballot initiative, meaning California Assembly Bill 5 (2019) could be used to decide whether app-based drivers are employees or independent contractors.

Prop. 22 is the result of a long, drawn-out battle between rideshare/gig companies and the California legislature. In 2019, the legislature passed AB 5, which sought to establish firmer rules when it came to independent contractors. AB 5 established that in order to be classified as an independent contractor, the worker:

  • Must be free from the hiring company's control and direction in the performance of the work
  • Is doing work that is normally outside the company's usual course of business
  • Is engaged in an established trade, occupation or business of the same nature of the work performed.

That three-pronged test ensured that people working for 'gig' apps like Lyft, Uber, and Doordash would become eligible for benefits normally afforded to a full-time employee under state labor laws (such as health benefits, overtime and sick leave). In August, the Superior Court of San Francisco ruled that both Uber and Lyft have been violating AB 5 by misclassifying their workers. That led rideshare companies to get Prop. 22 on your ballot this year.

If passed, Prop. 22 changes AB 5 to reclassify app-based drivers as independent contractors. The ballot proposition would also enact new labor and wage practices that would be specific to app-based drivers and companies. Those changes include:

  • Drivers would be eligible for payments in the difference between a worker's net earnings (excluding tips) and a net earnings floor that would be based on 120% of the minimum wage while the driver was engaged in a ride. Drivers would also receive 30 cents per mile while working for the app-based program (that amount will be adjusted with inflation after 2021).
  • Drivers would no longer be allowed to work more than 12 hours during a 24-hour period unless that driver has been logged off for at least 6 hours.
  • Drivers who average 25 hours per week every quarter will be eligible for subsidies that are equal to 82% of the average California Covered premium every month. (Drivers who average between 15 and 25 hours per week will be eligible for 41% of the average premium).
  • Companies will make occupational accident insurance to cover medical expenses and lost income (at least $1 million) resulting from any injuries suffered while working for the company.
  • Eligibility for disability payments
  • Accidental death insurance for the driver's spouse, children or other dependents if they die while using the app.
  • The proposition also defines the driver's engaged time as the time between accepting a service request and completing the request

KFI's Kris Ankarlo spoke with both sides to help us understand what Prop. 22 would mean for drivers if it passes in November. Listen to the latest episode of Propositioned here:

Guests:

NO

Mike Long, Mobile Workers Alliance

Rey Fuentes, legal fellow, Partnership for Working Families

James Weist, Driver, Lyft/Uber

Tyler Sandness, organizer for Rideshare Drivers United

YES

Doug Mead, driver for UberEats and Postmates

David Cruz, President of League of Latin American Citizens Council 3288

Geoff Vetter, YES on 22 spokesman

Photo: Getty Images