California voters pass Proposition 22, eliminating employee protections for Uber and Lyft...

Polycount

Posts: 2,849   +575
Staff member
In brief: California has been a veritable battleground in 2020 for ridesharing companies. The state recently passed "AB5" legislation that would forcibly classify Uber and Lyft drivers as employees, thus requiring the companies to shell out extra cash for benefits and minimum wage policies. However, today, the companies scored a major victory in the form of Proposition 22: a ballot measure that has passed overwhelmingly in Uber and Lyft's favor.

"Millions" of voters turned out to vote on Prop 22, with 58 percent voting in favor, and 42 percent voting against. Prop 22, for the unaware, allows ridesharing companies to bypass California's previous AB5 legislation entirely, while instead giving drivers access to a handful of employee-like benefits.

These benefits include access to healthcare subsidies and a "minimum earnings guarantee." However, other benefits, such as sick leave, worker's compensation, and overtime pay are entirely absent.

Regardless, whether progressives feel Prop 22 is unfair or not, California voters have spoken -- overwhelmingly so. Of course, Uber and its fellow ridesharing companies didn't achieve this win easily. They employed several clever campaign strategies, some of which drew criticism from their opponents.

For example, in October, a class-action lawsuit accused Uber of "coercing" its drivers into supporting Prop 22 by displaying warning messages. These messages had headlines like "Prop 22 will save lives," and often described the negative consequences that may occur if previous AB5 legislation was allowed to stand as-is.

Later that very month, the judge presiding over the suit denied injunctive relief to the plaintiffs, noting that forcing Uber to stop sending these messages would violate the company's "freedom of speech."

The folks opposing Prop 22 -- mostly labor organizations and drivers -- plan to continue fighting for employee classification, but it's unclear what methods they will adopt to do so.

Permalink to story.

 

sreams

Posts: 166   +254
So basically Californians voted for cheap rides and gave drivers the finger.

No. Many drivers prefer not to be employees. If the only people to have voted on Prop 22 were rideshare drivers, it would have likely passed by a much larger margin. The real "finger" is given to rideshare drivers when legislators or the masses decide for them what is best for them.

Prop 22 also severely weakens AB5 in general, which has destroyed the livelihoods of independent contractors across the board. It is becoming a swiss cheese of exemptions because of how poorly it was written in the first place. As a musician/artist, and someone who has many friends and family members who are negatively affected by it, I welcome anything that promotes AB5's downfall. The passing of Prop 22 removes what was considered to be AB5's primary reason for existing.
 

Kirby1

Posts: 98   +139
I was on the fence about this. As much as I want to support more access to health care, this would probably have eliminated a lot of jobs. Uber and Lyft operate on very thin margins. If their costs went up, the whole business concept likely would not work at all.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 4,023   +3,150
So basically Californians voted for cheap rides and gave drivers the finger.
No... they gave "regular" taxi companies the finger... It was those jerks who refused to modernize, paid their drivers crap, and monopolized the industry for decades.

While Uber and Lyft might not be saints, kudos to them for innovating - thanks to them, we can use our smartphones to hail a cab, track them on GPS, etc...

Edit: My favourite "taxi company" argument against Uber was always: "we use trained professionals"... Of course, anyone who's actually RIDDEN in a cab - or shared the road with them - knows what BS that claim was :)
 

candle_86

Posts: 729   +730
So basically Californians voted for cheap rides and gave drivers the finger.

Nope, drivers are largely opposed, you had a vocal minority and the labor unions trying to make it happen, for the long term goal of unionizing the drivers which is even worse for them. At least some common sense still exists in california
 

Irata

Posts: 1,432   +2,312
I was on the fence about this. As much as I want to support more access to health care, this would probably have eliminated a lot of jobs. Uber and Lyft operate on very thin margins. If their costs went up, the whole business concept likely would not work at all.
In that case it‘s not a business that deserves to be around if it only works by exploiting others.
 

brucek

Posts: 801   +1,104
TechSpot Elite
What's fascinating about this is it exposes the difference between what voters actually want as expressed on a direct vote (don't mess with my uber/lyft), vs. what they get from their elected representatives after they've been bought off or otherwise controlled by special interests (unions, cab drivers, etc.).

The more I see cases like this, where direct voter preference does not match indirect voter preference via legislators, the more strongly I feel we need more sunlight and other mechanisms to see where and how democracy is being corrupted.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 434   +626
Realistically, this passed because California lawmakers were incredibly stupid and passed a seriously restrictive law business-wise. What they should've done is slowly added restrictions over years. As a result, app-based ride sharing and delivery companies created a proposition that was much more fair compared to the new law but also makes it impossible for lawmakers to legislate further (it was written to require 7/8ths vote to pass a new law by legislators and it has to be in the spirit of Prop 22, whatever that means).

Effectively, California lawmakers handed a huge win to these appmakers. These appmakers secured regulations they designed for themselves for years or decades to come, until things get so bad that another proposition gets the vote of the Californian people. Another way to put it is the Democratic party (at least in California) is so deluded in how they represent their constituents.

Personally I think Prop 16 was the most dangerous one on the ballots. It failed to pass, and would have repealed the first ever ban of discrimination from a state constitution, removing the words "The State shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting." This is an example of a broken undercurrent of the Democratic party that Kamala Harris herself is in favor of but the people are not (as shown with Prop 16):
 

brucek

Posts: 801   +1,104
TechSpot Elite
These drivers traded long-term benefits for short-term profits. Sometimes I wonder if Americans ever truly realise that one day, they too, will get old and need health care.

It's the old story of the grasshopper and the ant.
That's not at all clear to me. For that to be true, the job would have to be the current source of health care (as opposed to say a main dayjob which was the original point of the rideshare economy); remain available; to be able to afford those benefits; the driver would still have to be in the job; and it assumes there would not be a national healthcare program when the time came.

I think the chance of all those remaining true is pretty small for most people.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 137   +94
In that case it‘s not a business that deserves to be around if it only works by exploiting others.


Especially when it has consistently lost money (at those current rates / drivers as contractors).

What they should have done with the original law is also include a statewide Taxi replacement for Uber, with better management, and higher fees.

You can't sustain your current Investor-funded Uber cheap rides forever, but putting-up legislation like this with no clear vision was asking to be killed. And people are addicted, and need their ride-share fix :D
 

Irata

Posts: 1,432   +2,312
It shouldn't up to you to decide for somebody else whether or not they are being exploited.
Just as much as it’s up to you. This is just my opinion.

Frankly, if someone‘s business idea is to underpay while not having to keep standards, it‘s not a good business idea and corporate welfare - guess who picks up the tab if „free lance contractors“ do not earn enough to make an honest living.

I assume you are not working for minimum wage or less with zero security or benefits. Neither am I, btw, but I don‘t expect anyone to do it for my benefit.
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 723   +616
The Gig economy exists for one reason and one reason only; to smash the rights of workers and give them next to nothing in the way of the benefits everyone else expects and gets thanks to a hundred of unions battling for those rights. The gig economy is insidious and serves to make a very few people obscenely wealthy while exploiting workers into the ground.

Good to see those that aren't even working in the industry so free and easy with their support of these morons in California. This insidious model will continue to spread and see how you feel when you own company starts to go down this path, because this model is highly favoured by Republicans especially.
 

sreams

Posts: 166   +254
Just as much as it’s up to you. This is just my opinion.

Sure. So would you be okay with a system where only those directly affected could vote on propositions like this one? If Uber/Lyft drivers decided they were not being exploited, would you accept that and change your position?
 

sreams

Posts: 166   +254
The Gig economy exists for one reason and one reason only; to smash the rights of workers and give them next to nothing in the way of the benefits everyone else expects and gets thanks to a hundred of unions battling for those rights. The gig economy is insidious and serves to make a very few people obscenely wealthy while exploiting workers into the ground.

Good to see those that aren't even working in the industry so free and easy with their support of these morons in California. This insidious model will continue to spread and see how you feel when you own company starts to go down this path, because this model is highly favoured by Republicans especially.

No. This model is favored by people who would like to have the flexibility to fall back on something like rideshare when needed, or to supplement other income. Full employee positions cannot provide that on-demand flexibility. If I have a couple of free days and want to earn a little money during that time (and maybe meet some interesting people in the process), do you really expect someone to make me into an employee and provide benefits? No thanks.
 

sreams

Posts: 166   +254
What they should have done with the original law is also include a statewide Taxi replacement for Uber, with better management, and higher fees.

It is not the role of government to provide taxi services. It *is* the role of government to fairly regulate taxi services if and as needed.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,334   +1,216
That's what businesses do...(Monty Python link redacted)
You do realize that movies are fiction, right?
guess who picks up the tab if „free lance contractors“ do not earn enough to make an honest living.
The government pays less to an employed worker than to one left unemployed entirely ... and that's what most California Uber and Lyft drivers would have been, had this bill not passed.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,432   +2,312
Sure. So would you be okay with a system where only those directly affected could vote on propositions like this one? If Uber/Lyft drivers decided they were not being exploited, would you accept that and change your position?
No, absolutely not. That‘s Democracy - there are outcomes that one does not like. Same as free speech.

Me not liking the outcome does not mean I want to deny people the right to vote.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,432   +2,312
You do realize that movies are fiction, right?
The government pays less to an employed worker than to one left unemployed entirely ... and that's what most California Uber and Lyft drivers would have been, had this bill not passed.
It‘s still a subsidy, I.e. corporate welfare. I don‘t think it‘s good for anyone becoming dependent on government hand outs, be it individuals or corporations.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 137   +94
It is not the role of government to provide taxi services. It *is* the role of government to fairly regulate taxi services if and as needed.


well yes. and that's essentially what I was saying - instead of Uber pretending it is not a nationwide Taxi service, make a CA law that require all rideshare companies to adhere top new statewide Taxi Regulations.'

Problem Solved. Driver percentage go up, and poorly-managed companies like Uber die even faster. Better-managed replacements will make gobs of cash.

It's just harder because larger cities would need a cut of that revenue (to stem their Taxi losses). You would also have to hammer-through the Taxi medallion system ,so they took the easy way out
 
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sreams

Posts: 166   +254
No, absolutely not. That‘s Democracy - there are outcomes that one does not like. Same as free speech.

Me not liking the outcome does not mean I want to deny people the right to vote.

Maybe I didn't relay my question well. I'll put it another way:

If you were able to interview/survey rideshare drivers personally, and discovered that nearly all of them do not want your help and want to retain their independent contractor status, would you honor their wishes and vote to support their position?