About, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash – the main supporters of California's Proposition 22 – prevail. The proposal to classify gig workers as independent contractors is expected to be adopted. The Associated Press named the race, with 67% of the counties reporting partial coverage.
At the time of publication, 58.2% of voters (more than 6.3 million people) voted for Prop 22, while 41.5% of voters (about 4.5 million people) voted against.
The electoral measure introduces an income guarantee of at least 120% of the minimum wage while at work, 30 cents per mile for expenses, a health grant, occupational injury insurance for workplace injuries, protection against discrimination and sexual harassment, and auto accident and liability insurance. It should be noted that these income guarantees and reimbursement of expenses only reflect the driver's time and do not take into account the time between trips or deliveries.
Prop 22 proponents called for her victory late Tuesday night when about 57% of the vote was cast. In an email to the drivers tonight, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi informed them of the news.
"With this vote, the driver and delivery driver get what so many of you have asked for: access to benefits and protections while still maintaining the flexibility and independence you want and deserve," wrote Khosrowshahi. "The future of self-employment is more secure because as many drivers as you have spoken and heard your voice – and voters across the state have listened."
Uber said it would be in touch in the next few weeks with additional details regarding signing up for the new offerings such as industrial accident insurance and health care subsidies. Some opponents have since admitted the measure.
"We are disappointed with today's result, especially because the success of this campaign is based on lies and scare tactics," wrote Gig Workers Collective in a blog post. "Corporations shouldn't be able to buy elections. But we are still committed to our cause and ready to continue our struggle."
The folks at Gig Workers Rising also said the fight was far from over.
"This struggle is just a stepping stone in our continued struggle to give gig workers the rights, benefits and decent working conditions they deserve," Gig Workers Rising said in a statement.
Prop 22 was mainly supported by Uber, Lyft. DoorDash and Postmates . Last week, DoorDash poured an additional $ 3.75 million into the Yes on 22 campaign, according to a late entry. Then, on Monday, Uber staked another million dollars. This inflow of cash brought Ja to total contributions from $ 22 million to around $ 205 million. All of these resources make Proposition 22 the most expensive electoral measure in California since 1999.
On the other hand, Service Employees International Union, United Food & Commercial Workers, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters were the major donors against Prop 22.
"The reality is that it is setting a dangerous precedent for companies to write their own labor laws," Vanessa Bain, gig worker and organizer at Gig Workers Collective, recently told TechCrunch. "This policy was designed to help companies unilaterally to the detriment of workers."
The creation of Prop 22 was a direct response to the legalization of AB-5, the gig worker bill that made it difficult for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and other gig economy companies to classify their employees as 1,099 independent contractors.
AB-5 helps workers in the gig economy be eligible for minimum wage, compensation and other benefits by encouraging employers to take the ABC test. According to the ABC test, in order for a hiring company to legally classify an employee as an independent contractor, it must demonstrate that the employee is free from the control and direction of the hiring company, performing work outside of the company's business and that this is a regular part of the work of a company independently established business or a similar company.
Currently, Uber and Lyft are in a lawsuit against AB-5, filed in May by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra along with city attorneys from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. They argued that Uber and Lyft are gaining an unfair and unlawful competitive advantage by incorrectly classifying workers as independent contractors. Then, in June, plaintiffs filed an injunction asking the court to force Uber and Lyft to reclassify their drivers.
In August, a judge issued the injunction. Uber and Lyft appealed the decision, but the appeals court upheld the lower court's decision last month. However, the decision is suspended for 30 days after the court issues the transfer, which the court has not yet done. Meanwhile, both Uber and Lyft previously said they would be considering their appeal options.
Throughout the case, Uber and Lyft have argued that reclassifying their drivers as employees would cause irreparable harm to companies. In last month's ruling, the judge said 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".
But now that Prop 22 is expected to be passed, that lawsuit has far less legal basis. It's also worth noting that Uber previously said it might pursue similar laws in other states.
The California Secretary of State began publishing partial election results from the state's 58 counties at 8 p.m. PT. However, don't expect a final count tonight or even tomorrow. This is partly due to the fact that California accepts postal ballot papers that are postmarked no later than November 3, 2020. In the meantime, the county's election officials have until December 1, 2020 to report the final results.