What a relief for Uber drivers


Earlier this year, organizers of a Bay Area theater told Alicia Dattner that they would not be able to pay her for upcoming comedies. The reason: a new California law that reclassified Uber drivers such as gig-economy workers, because employees meant it would be too expensive to hire.

Ms. Dattner was confused. Why was a law made on Uber and Lyft affecting comedians?

“It makes no sense,” said Ms. Dattner, who also teaches comedy and public speaking workshops.

When California legislators passed the high-profile labor law last year, they said it would increase safety for drivers for ride-hailing and delivery companies such as Uber Technologies Inc., Lyft Inc. and DoorDash Inc. Independent contractors legislation, known as AB-5, would make these workers eligible for health insurance, timely payments and other benefits – if part of the company’s normal course of business in their roles, which other With requirements included. .

When California legislators passed the high-profile labor law last year, they said it would increase safety for drivers for ride-hailing and delivery companies. (Via David Paul Morris / Bloomberg Getty Image)

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It has not worked that way. Silicon Valley companies have rejected the intentions of lawmakers, leaving their drivers’ positions unchanged while they fight the law in courts and waging a costly campaign to hold a statewide popular vote this November, Which would exempt them from the law.

Meanwhile, wizards, independent journalists and interpreters have lost themselves in the work: Many small businesses say implementing such measures would be too expensive, and instead opted to cut the use of independent workers is.

Along with the complaints, the California legislature earlier this month amended the law to exempt workers in industries from comedy to youth sports. While a vast array of groups with objections – which included interpreters and journalists, concerns about the impact of the law still remain among employers and workers alike, including small theaters, fast-food franchises, and even Some malls include Santa.

Ride-sharing and delivery companies’ legal and political push against AB-5 “is such a disappointing example that you can buy your way into a regulatory environment that suits you,” Veena Dubal, a professor who employs law Has been a vocal critic of the University of California, Hastings, and companies. “They have been defying the order since January 1. Meanwhile, a yoga studio does not have that luxury.”

Uber and Lyft have stated that they believe their drivers are still independent contractors under the law, as they describe themselves as digital-app companies that match riders with drivers, transport Not from providers. The law does not specifically refer to ride-hailing or food delivery.

The anchor Security The last Change Change %
UBER UBER Technologies Inc 36.98 1.00 + 2.78%
Lyft LYFT Inc. 30.76 1.25 + 4.24%

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If forced to reclassify their drivers as employees, the companies say that their businesses – already unprofitable – will develop fully. They require workers to pay hourly wages for schedule shifts, which gives flexibility to many drivers. They say there will be a need to increase fares, decrease service and even cease operations in some areas. Uber filed an estimate in court that at least 150,000 of its 210,000 active drivers in California would no longer work for the company, while fares would be between 20% and 120% across the state. They have submitted petitions signed by thousands of drivers opposing the law.

Companies are currently seeking to weigh California voters on the matter using the state’s ballot-measurement process, which allows laws to be passed, overturned or amended by popular vote instead of the legislature.

A spokesperson for Lyft said: “If the legislature has done its job and created a policy that actually protects drivers, ballot initiative was not necessary.”

Baylor, on November 3, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and others have spent $ 180 million so far to support Proposition 22, as Ballot revealed on November 3, making it the most expensive ballot measure in California history Makes one of. This dwarfs the more than $ 6 million being spent by labor groups, contrary to the measure, which aims to classify drivers of ride-hailing and distribution companies as independent contractors, exempted from AB-5 .

The AB-5 law evolved from a decision of the Supreme Court of California in 2018, which implied that contracts should be classified as workers eligible for strong labor protection as compensation for businesses.

To illustrate the issue, lawmakers in Sacramento decided to pursue legislation that would impose broad new restrictions at a time when a company was able to rely on an independent contractor rather than an employee. The debate over the bill turned into a full-fledged balloon in a referendum on the Uber, lift and gig economy, with labor groups and most state lawmakers insisting on reclassifying drivers and other contractors who were only nominally independent.

Ride-hailing and food-delivery companies initially said the legislation would be disastrous, adding to costs and robbing drivers of their resilience.

Then, at the time of the bill passing a year ago, the companies adopted a new argument, stating that their drivers clearly did not qualify as employees under the law, as their main products were mobile apps, not transportation services.

The companies stated that their drivers clearly did not qualify as employees under the law, as their main products were mobile apps, not transportation services. (IStock).

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The lawsuits followed, and a judge in San Francisco state court recently ruled against Uber and Lyft, with the companies engaged in “a long and shameless refusal to obey California law.” Nevertheless, companies do not have to change their operations until after the ballot measure in November.

Those who say they have lost work because of the law are left bitter.

Mario Moncada, a Santa Monica, California., Physical therapist, had worked on an independent basis for a long time, getting a job through a home-health agency. He liked flexibility and built his own sub-business, sending work to other physiotherapists. As a result of the law, his subcontinent business disappeared and he had to become an employee of the agency following a more rigorous schedule. He said that this change cost thousands of dollars a year.

“I have to move out of my place of residence now,” he said when he was packing up his house to leave for Louisiana.

The follow-up bill, signed into law last week, proposes a proposal for physiotherapists in similar situations, according to a trade group.

Lorena Gonzalez, a California assemblywoman who wrote AB-5 and the follow-up measure, said she spent a good part of the year listening to concerns about the law, and tried to exempt groups that did not influence it Was lying.

Ms. Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat, said that with the recent exemptions, the law would still mean countless workers at nail salons and watchman companies who would now be considered eligible for benefits such as timely payments to employees. Such workers deserve better protection in the long run, she said, while she continues to be nervous about ride-hail companies.

“We should all be offended that they don’t continue to follow the law,” she said.

Those who say they have lost work because of the law are left bitter. (AP Photo / Richard Vogel, File)

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Some affected groups are not pleased.

Franchises may qualify as employees, meaning a chain such as 7-Eleven may need to employ people who rent and operate the store. Currently such franchises pay a fee to the chain owner. Matthew Holler, vice president of the International Franchise Association, said some brands have stalled plans for expansion in California as a result of the law.

Small theater groups – which often paid musicians, actors and crew members as independent contractors – are particularly disappointed. Gayle Gordon, the founding director of the one-year-old Numi Opera in Los Angeles, said that after the law was passed, she realized how much it would cost her and canceled plans for a performance in May in February.

“It would have put more than 30 percent on top of my budget – which was already well tied,” she said. As it turns out, the performance of “Violenta”, an opera by a 20th-century Austrian composer, was canceled as a result of Kovid-19, but remains uncertain as to what another fall for her in the future Is set for Next year.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.