Welcome back to human capital! As many of you know, Human Capital is a weekly newsletter where I break down the latest information on work, diversity and inclusion in technology. It is officially available as a newsletter. So if you'd like to receive this content on hot Fridays at 1:00 p.m. PT, subscribe here.
With the elections coming up, this issue focuses heavily on California's electoral measure Proposition 22. The TL; DR is that gig companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash really want to keep classifying their drivers and deliverers as independent contractors, so they're putting millions of dollars into this election. Complaints and lawsuits related to Prop 22 were filed this week, and an appeals court judge ruled that Uber and Lyft need to reclassify their drivers. We also heard directly from gig workers on both sides why they want to be independent contractors or not.
But we'll also look at SoftBank's first investment from the D&I fund, the addition of a new Black Board member to Pinterest, and much more. Let's jump in.
Uber and Lyft have to classify drivers as employees, court rules
But. And that's a big one though. Uber and Lyft are likely to appeal this decision, and it's also possible that decision doesn't matter, depending on how Prop 22 works. We are only a few weeks away from Election Day and that decision has 30 days from the moment the transfer goes into effect. And this transfer has not yet been issued.
Throughout the case, Uber and Lyft have argued that reclassifying their drivers as employees would cause irreparable harm to companies. In today's ruling, the judge said that none of the companies would suffer "serious or irreparable damage if they were prohibited from breaking the law" and that their respective financial burdens "would not result in irreparable harm".
Furthermore, the injunction does not contain anything that would prevent Uber and Lyft from offering their drivers flexibility and independence, according to Richter. Finally, the judge said Uber and Lyft had had ample time to switch their drivers from independent contractors to employees as the key case for the passage of AB 5, the gig worker bill that sparked this lawsuit, was decided in 2018.
Amazon workers protest for time off to vote
Before Election Day, Amazon employees protested at the company's Seattle headquarters against paid time off to vote. In a statement to GeekWireAccording to Amazon, employees who do not have enough free time can request additional, excused time off.
"The number of hours and pay of employees vary by state according to local laws," said the spokesman.
According to GeekWire, Amazon has informed managers that they should approve PTO voting requests.
Tech companies that give their employees paid time off Election day includes Salesforce, Apple (hourly workers get four hours), Facebook, Twitter, Uber, and others.
No to Prop 22 Camp files a Yes to 22 appeal with USPS
Opponents of California's Proposal 22 filed a complaint with the United States Postal Service this week. The no-to-22 campaign claims the yes side is not eligible for nonprofit postal status and is asking USPS to revoke their approval.
It is much cheaper to send campaign mailers as a nonprofit. For example, sending 1 to 200,000 small mailers to each door typically costs $ 0.302 each. As a nonprofit, this costs $ 0.226 each, according to USPS. To be clear, the Yes-to-22 campaign confirmed that it was incorporated as a nonprofit under IRS Section 501 (c) (4), which relates to social welfare organizations. But the no-on-22 side says USPS wrongly approved the yes-to-22 campaign.
In a statement to TC, Yes to 22 spokesman Geoff Vetter said: "As a 501 (c) (4) organization, Yes on 22 is eligible for the USPS's reasonable non-profit postage that we have applied for and that has been granted by the USPS. Postmaster. "
Uber faces a class action lawsuit over Prop 22
Uber faces a class action lawsuit over Proposition 22 which claims the company is illegally forcing its drivers to support the election campaign to classify workers as independent contractors. The lawsuit was filed by two Uber drivers, Benjamin Valdez and Hector Castellanos, and two California nonprofits, Worksafe and the Chinese Progressive Association.
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs argue that Uber encouraged its drivers and delivery drivers to support Prop 22 through the company's driver planning app.
"This is an absurd, no merit lawsuit filed solely for press attention and without consideration for the facts," Uber spokesman Matt Kallman said in a statement to .. "It can't detract from the truth: the vast majority of drivers have supported Prop 22 and have been for months because they know it will improve their lives and protect the way they want to work."
Ship workers protest outside Target and Shipt headquarters
Shipt shoppers implemented their protest plans this week as they hosted promotions at Target headquarters in Minneapolis and Shipt headquarters in Birmingham, Ala.
Before the protests Ship shoppers and organizers at Gig Workers Collective told me His goal was to draw attention to the new pay structure Shipt began with and how buyers "get paid less for more."
6 businesses, 5 days, 5 states, 6,500+ miles, 3 time zones, 3 direct actions, and 2 podcasts. Gig workers in California, the South, and the Midwest all emerged and emerged to unleash this good, good working-class power. Every cell in my body is in solidarity. ????❤️✊ pic.twitter.com/zZnrQYaBz9
– Vanessa Bain B #BlackLivesMatter # NOonProp22 (@hashtagmolotov) October 20, 2020
Gig workers speak for and against Prop 22
TC restarted the Mixtape podcast and as part of it, Henry Pickavet and I had a chat with Vanessa Bain, an Instacart buyer who speaks out against Prop 22, and Doug Mead, a gig worker who supports Prop 22. The full episode is worth listening to, but here are some key nuggets from them. First bain:
“If all you have to do is put the hiring process and bossing into one app on your phone to rewrite labor laws, every company on the planet will. Unfortunately, there's so much more at stake here than just Uber and Lyft, ridesharing and grocery delivery, and how you get your DoorDash orders. It's literally about the future of work. "
"It really is the government – their intention to take control of a person over how they want to be compensated. And that just doesn't make sense to me," Mead said want to be compensated. "
You can check them out full episode here.
SoftBank invests in Vitable Health as part of the D&I fund
$ 100 million SoftBank Opportunity Fund, which formed it in June invest in founders of color made his first bet on Vitable Health. The company focuses on health insurance for underserved and low-income communities.
SoftBank's Opportunity Fund led the $ 1.6 million round that included Y Combinator, DNA Capital, Commerce Ventures, MSA Capital, Coughdrop Capital, and a handful of angel investors.
Pinterest brings another Black Board member
Pinterest brought in its second black female board member, Salaam Coleman Smith. Smith's appointment comes a few months after Pinterest named its first black board member, Andrea Wishom.
Smith is the former EPP programming and strategy for Disney ABC Family and Freeform and the past President of Comcast NBCUniversals Style Media.
Here's an updated look at black board representation at large tech companies.
Netflix launches tech boot camp for HBCU students
Netflix announced a virtual HBCU Boot camp for students at Norfolk State University, a historically black university in Virginia. In particular, it is open to current students and alumni from classes 2019 and 2020.
In cooperation with the online education platform 2U, 130 students will be taught Java engineering, UX / UI design and data science over 16 weeks in the Bootcamp from January. A bonus is that members of Netflix's data science, engineering, and design teams are available to mentor students.