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Trio Of Tech Companies Wants Carveout From New CA Law That Classifies Its Workers As Employees




A Lyft driver places a company emblem on his dashboard in San Francisco.
A Lyft driver places a company emblem on his dashboard in San Francisco.
Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for Lyft

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Not long after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB-5 into law, gig economy giants Uber, Lyft and DoorDash announced this week they’re seeking an exemption.  

The companies are part of a coalition that announced a $90 million ballot campaign, The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act, in hopes of it landing on the ballot next November. The initiative calls for app-based drivers to be considered independent contractors as long as the companies meet certain criteria, including an earnings guarantee of  “at least 120% of minimum wage, while preserving the opportunity to earn more with no caps on what drivers can earn.” Drivers would also earn 30 cents per mile for maintenance expenses and gas. The proposal also says the companies will provide health care stipends and occupational accident insurance.

Although the companies are calling for what could be a compromise by promising certain benefits, some stand in support of AB-5, which reclassifies a wide array of gig workers from independent contractors to employees. The companies argue the law will take away drivers’ flexibility and eliminate work opportunities. 

We reached out to Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez. She was not able to join us for the interview, but she sent us this statement: 

“There is nothing in either the State Supreme Court’s decision or AB 5 that impacts flexibility for workers. This initiative is disingenuous. These billion-dollar corporations still refuse to offer their workers what every other employee in California is entitled to: earning the minimum wage for all hours worked, social security, normal reimbursements for their costs, overtime pay, and the right to organize.”

Guests:

Brandon Castillo, spokesperson for the coalition that has launched the ballot campaign on behalf of Uber, Lyft and DoorDash 

Wendy Musell, an employment lawyer with the firm Stewart & Musell in Emeryville, California

Harry Campbell, Los Angeles-based Uber and Lyft driver and founder of theRideShareGuy.com, a blog and podcast for rideshare drivers; he tweets @TheRideShareGuy