Proposition 22, App-Based Drivers as Contractors: No

If you even need a definition for “craven,” just look at proposition 22 proponents. Three companies DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber, are trying to buy a law. It’s why you see those incessant, inane, pro-proposition 22 commercials everywhere.

Follow the money. According to Ballotpedia:

On August 30, 2019, three companies — DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber — each placed $30 million into campaign accounts to fund a ballot initiative campaign should the legislature pass AB 5 without compromising with the companies….Through September 23, 2020, Yes on Proposition 22 received $184.3 million, which is the most funds that an initiative campaign has ever received in California (not adjusted for inflation). Uber contributed $50 million, Lyft provided $48 million, DoorDash contrubuted $47 million, InstaCart provided $28 million, and Postmates provided $11 million.

I mean, do I really have to say “follow the money” here?

Let’s be clear: AB 5 was bad law. It was an overreaction, hastily written, and rammed through the state legislature without a clear understanding of either the law’s consequences or what types of work is done in the state on a contract basis. Heck, the law fell hardest on one of the state’s biggest industries, the film and stage industry.

Proposition 22 is not the answer.

Let’s be clear about one other thing: These app-based companies have a business model based on flouting laws, including laws that ensure that workers are taken care of. They have put services into places where they have been expressly prohibited from doing so, built functionality into their apps to specifically avoid regulatory agencies, and have put its front-line workers into positions little different from indentured servitude. Their only argument is that their system gives workers “freedom” to work when they want, where they want, as much as they want.

And make no mistake, many, many people do exactly this type of work, in many industries. But these app-based industries aren’t doing it for worker freedom, but to reduce their costs.

You see, it costs money to hire and retain employees. For employees, companies are required to pay for part of social security and for state unemployment insurance. For employees, companies are required to make their workplaces safe and free from discrimination.

But employees do not have to be full time to be employees.

These companies could keep these workers on as employees and still allow them the work flexibility they ask for. It would just cost them money. And think about how much money whey would save: More than they are spending on this initiative, otherwise, they wouldn’t spend this amount of money. They are doing a calculus that you will believe the stories that hide their real reason for doing this, that you’ll see all those commercials and make that choice on your ballot and allow them to make hundreds of millions more for themselves and take advantage of the people who make them that money.

Don’t be fooled. Vote No.

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