With Californian voters When Proposition 22 was passed with 58.6% of the vote, they agreed with Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates that gig workers shouldn't be employees who are entitled to countless labor rights. The proposal they passed was that gig workers should be independent contractors receiving the limited benefits proposed by these companies.
"The first feeling I had was shock, disbelief, and pain," Vanessa Bain, organizer at Gig Workers Collective, told .. "It didn't feel good to believe that my Californian colleagues voted to deprive people like me and my employees of our labor rights."
But Prop 22 does not mark the end of the struggle for gig worker status. Gig workers, lawyers and activists from Gig Workers Rising, Gig Workers Collective, the National Employment Law Project and the Working Partnerships for Families are preparing to redouble their efforts in the New Year. Same goes for gig companies. Uber and Lyft are poised to bring laws similar to Prop 22 to other parts of the country and the world.
In the coming year, we are likely to see lobbying from both gig companies and gig worker organizations, as well as more lawsuits.
"We didn't have time for more grief because once it was over, every company signaled that it wanted to expand this model to the national level, which means our organization had to adjust accordingly," said Bain.
So the fight has only just begun. In the coming year, we are likely to see lobbying from both gig companies and gig worker organizations, as well as more lawsuits.
In 2019, California legislature passed Convention 5 Bill, which went into effect January 2020.
AB 5 urged companies to use the ABC test to determine how their workers should be classified. After the ABC test, an employee must prove the employee so that he can legally classify an employee as an independent contractor:
- A – is free from the control and management of the employing company.
- B – Performs work outside the company's business area and
- C – regularly engages in an "independently established trade, profession or business of the same nature as the work done".
Many have argued that gig economy companies fail the ABC test while, of course, the companies themselves have argued that they do. As AB 5 made its way through the state parliament, gig companies joined forces with their competitors to fight a collective enemy: labor rights for their respective workforces.
In August 2019, Uber and Lyft started this fight with an initial $ 60 million for the election measure now known as Prop 22. Between August 2019 and November 2020, that number soared to around $ 205 million, bringing in contributions from other companies like Postmates (now owned by Uber), Instacart, and DoorDash. All of these resources make Proposition 22 the most expensive electoral measure in California since 1999.
On the flip side, Service Employees International Union, United Food & Commercial Workers, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters were major donors against Prop 22. They combined contributed $ 15.9 million.
The electoral measure, which goes into effect this month, has a few key benefits:
- An income guarantee of at least 120% of the minimum wage while working.
- 30 cents a mile for spending.
- A health grant.
- Work accident insurance for work accidents.
- Car accident and liability insurance.
Prior to the Prop 22 vote, Cherri Murphy, rider for Uber and Lyft and lead organizer at Gig Workers Rising, was instrumental in Gig Workers Rising's efforts to fight the millions of dollars tech companies are recruiting into gig workers stuck classified as an independent contractor.
"We had a hell of a fight," Murphy told .. "We were up against a $ 205 million campaign, but I still had to believe we could win."