SACRAMENTO – A coalition of ride-hailing companies and supporters led by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash last month submitted a ballot initiative to the California Secretary of State’s Office in an effort to undo Assembly Bill 5, a new law that will make it more difficult for companies to classify gig economy workers as contractors.
The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act initiative would provide promises of increased benefits for such workers, who might otherwise be classified as employees under AB 5. The bill’s opponents have argued that the new law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, would lead to more labor litigation against businesses and less working flexibility for gig workers.
“Regarding the scope of the measure, this initiative is narrowly crafted to protect the right of Californians to work as independent contractor drivers with on-demand rideshare and delivery companies, and to provide those on-demand drivers new benefits and protections,” Stacey Wells of the Coalition of Rideshare and Delivery Drivers said.
“It was crafted this way because hundreds of thousands of Californians are choosing to work as independent contractors on on-demand rideshare and delivery network platforms. These platforms enable truly unique on-demand work, providing complete flexibility and control over when, where and how they work. This ballot measure focuses on this specific type of work and these drivers that are flexible and independent.”
With the passing of AB 5, a three-factor test was established to decide a worker’s status as an independent contractor.
The three-factor test requires that (a) the worker is free from the hiring company’s control and direction in the performance of work; (b) the worker is doing work that is outside the company’s usual course of business; and (c) the worker is engaged in an established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.
Ride-hailing companies, drivers and supporters throughout the state are countering this method and the potential negative impact it may bring.
The proposed initiative reads: “Hundreds of thousands of Californians are choosing to work as independent contractors in the modern economy using app-based rideshare and delivery platforms to transport passengers and deliver food, groceries, and other goods as a means of earning income while maintaining the flexibility to decide when, where, and how they work. … Millions of California consumers and businesses, and our state’s economy as a whole, also benefit from the services of people who work as independent contractors using app-based rideshare and delivery platforms.”
Wells also discussed the quickly growing supporting members of the coalition and their preparedness in the fight to amend the law and stand behind their drivers.
“We’ve had conversations with signature gathering firms and will be prepared to start gathering signatures when we receive our clearance and Title & Summary in early January," Wells said. "We have a broad coalition of public safety organizations, like Fathers Against Drunk Driving, business leaders like the California Asian Chamber of Commerce and California Black Chamber, plus community groups, technology companies, and more than 16,000 California app-based drivers that are committed to qualifying and passing this measure to protect the right of app-based rideshare and delivery drivers to work as independent contractors.”