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Why Working People in California Must Vote No on Proposition 22

Tuesday, November 3, working people in California will be voting for more than just the next president of the United States. They will also have a say in the future of work for hundreds of thousands of Californians working in the gig economy, and an opportunity to place a check on corporate power.

On the ballot in the Golden State is Proposition 22, a measure that, if passed, would allow app-based rideshare and delivery companies such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart, to be exempt from a California law that requires them to provide basic protections to their workers.

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart will tell you that Proposition 22 is about maintaining flexibility for their drivers, but the truth is much more sinister. A vote in favor of Proposition 22 will allow these companies to continue misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. That misclassification scheme allows these companies to boost their profits by denying their drivers’ right to a minimum wage, paid sick leave, healthcare, and other protections.

Here’s what voters need to know:

  • Proposition 22 was written for app companies by app companies. In fact, Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash paid to put Proposition 22 on the ballot. So far, they have spent $200 million on the initiative, making it the most expensive ballot measure in U.S. history and the most expensive union busting campaign in history, as Prop 22 would eliminate workers’ right to organize and form a union.
  • These wealthy gig companies hired lawyers to write a misleading initiative, paid political operatives to collect voter signatures, and have spent millions on a constant barrage of misleading advertisements across nearly every platform imaginable. Meanwhile, they are simultaneously refusing to provide their drivers with personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety equipment during a pandemic.
  • Proposition 22 exempts these multi-billion-dollar gig corporations from contributing to safety net programs we all need like Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Insurance.
  • Proposition 22 makes us all less safe by eliminating safety protections for riders and drivers and any liability these wealthy companies have to consumers.
  • Proposition 22 threatens good, middle-class union jobs. If Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart succeed in buying this election, their low-pay, no-protection business model will expand in virtually every industry, leading to unprecedented job loss and the erosion of workplace standards and employee protections.
  • Proposition 22 is designed to maximize the profits of app-based companies at the expense of taxpayers and their drivers. The measure creates a competitive advantage for giant corporations that hurts workers and small family-owned businesses.
  • Current state law requires Uber and other app-based companies to provide their drivers with rights and protections, just like every other California business. The California Attorney General recently won a lawsuit against these companies for breaking that law.
  • Study after study shows that if Prop 22 passes, app-based workers will make far less than California’s $13 hourly minimum wage. One study from GigCompare shows that drivers would make just $7.61 per online hour (not counting idle time spent waiting for a passenger), while another study from the UC Berkeley Labor Center shows that drivers would make just $5.64 per hour.

Voters in California have the ability to stop this cooperate power grab and stand up for the rights, livelihood, and safety of working people by voting against Proposition 22 this Tuesday.

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