California votes on the future of gig economy workers today. Voters will need to decide if they want to back the ballot proposal by Uber, which would cement rideshare drivers’ status as independent contractors. California represents nine percent, which translates to roughly $1.63 billion, of Uber’s 2019 global rides and food delivery bookings.
The measure, known as Proposition 22, is essentially a culmination of years of legal and legislative battles between Uber, its drivers, and the government. According to Uber and similar companies, having workers as independent contractors ensures flexibility for a new generation of workers who want to choose when and how they work. In addition to that, Proposition 22 also promises to leave gig workers as contractors while providing them with more modest benefits, including minimum pay while riders are in their cars, healthcare subsidies, and accident insurance.
In the event Proposition 22 does not pass, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates have threatened to shut down in California. According to Uber, the company will have to increase prices if drivers are employees. Passengers could see a 25% to 111% price increase for rides and food delivery. In addition to that, other app companies warn they could cut 80% of drivers, double prices, and leave the state if they are forced to pay benefits, including minimum wage, unemployment insurance, health care, and workers’ compensation.
Opponents of Proposition 22 see the measure as an effort to exploit workers and avoid employee-related costs like health care and other benefits. While company-sponsored surveys have found that more than 70% of current gig workers do not want to be employees, labor groups have questioned the results, saying drivers are divided.
Californians are also split on the issues. According to a poll by US Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, over 6,600 state residents found that 46% of voters would vote in favor of the ballot, while 42% said they would vote against it. The remainder were undecided.
For more information on Proposition 22, or to stay up-to-date on all rideshare industry news, click here to read the Rideshare Law Group’s blog. In the event you’ve been injured in an accident with a rideshare driver, you may have grounds to pursue legal action. An Uber or Lyft attorney from our law firm can help. Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options.