Uber drivers say the company ‘forces’ them to support 22

Uber is sending an app message to drivers about its California ballot measure.

James Martin / CNET

Uber drivers are receiving in-app messages from the company asking them about support for Proposition 22 before taking a ride. The offer is 22 Ballot Campaign in California Supported by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates, which aims to classify drivers as independent contractors.

Now, two drivers are suing Uber, stating that in-app messages violated their employment rights. The proposed class-action suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Thursday and first reported by the Washington Post, alleges Uber has “illegally” voted for “drivers” and passed Proposition 22 Pushed for “advocacy”. Under California law, employers are prohibited from engaging in their workers’ political activities.

“Uber’s threats and the frequent barrage of Prop 22 propaganda on an app, is one purpose drivers must use to do their job: forcing drivers to support Uber’s political fight for workplace safety,” Rudy, partner David Lee at Axelrod, Zieff and Lowe and an attorney for the drivers, said in a statement.

The fight over Proposition 22 has heated up over the past few months as Uber and other gig economy companies have poured nearly $ 200 million into a ballot campaign, making it the most expensive in California history. The campaign is Influence voters with mailers, Text messages, phone calls and advertisements. Companies say Businesses will be battered If forced to classify gig workers as employees.

The No Two Propose 22 side, supported by labor groups and unions, has contributed more than $ 15 million to its campaign. It says the drivers Fit to be classified as employees And get benefits such as minimum wages, health care and sick leave.

Uber’s in-app messages to drivers include information about Proposition 22 and ask drivers for their positions according to KQED. Some message list campaign talking points, such as thousands of jobs, will be cut if Proposition 22 fails and that the ballot measure will “protect the flexibility that distributes to drivers and people like you.” Under California law, employees are allowed to work flexibly.

According to a screenshot included in the lawsuit, the messages also ask drivers to record 30- to 60-second videos about why flexibility is important and whether they support Proposition 22 or not. In a message, Drivers are asked to choose “Yes on Prop 22” or “OK”.

“Almost every time we log on, we are given unilateral information to push in support of Prop. 22,” Uber’s driver and a plaintiff said in a statement. “The threat that most of us will lose our jobs if Prop. 22 is a scare tactic is pure and simple.”

The lawsuit alleges that the driver cannot avoid seeing these messages whenever they open the app. It also stated that drivers from Uber fear retaliation if they do not participate in in-app surveys or say they support Proposition 22. The retaliation listed in the complaint includes less favorable or less plentiful trips, or no trips.

Uber did not return multiple requests for comment.

Two non-profit organizations joining the two Uber drivers listed in the lawsuit are Versafeff and the Chinese Progressive Association. The suit seeks a court order to stop Uber from sending in-app messages. Additional labor claims have been filed with the California Labor Commissioner seeking civil penalties.

“Uber’s action is an exploitation of the old school,” said Shaw San Liu, organizing director of the Chinese Progressive Association. “Emphasizing their workforce to support the company’s political position. This is undemocratic and a violation of the original workplace.”

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