Changes Employment Classification Rules for App-based Transportation and Delivery Drivers. Initiative Statute.
This proposition reworks a part of AB 5 (2019) that ended “independent contractor” status for many jobs. The proposition addresses only “app-based drivers” — those who offer ride sharing or delivery services such as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, etc. While AB 5 sought greater economic equity for such “gig” or casual engagement work, it has created real problems for those driving. Most drivers work erratically to fit family and other considerations into their schedules and work for several different companies at the same time. Defined shifts would cause them to quit or create real hardships. Labor groups are correct to demand assured income, benefits, protections for these novel workers, new to the labor economy. This proposition shows they have largely succeeded. The companies have created this measure that puts into law the demands put forth by unions and advocates. It will provide minimum wage plus 20%, covering drive time to pick up and from delivery; mileage; insurance for both drivers’ vehicles and workplace injury; guaranteed retention of tips; and payments for workers’ health insurance. Unions still oppose this measure, but it’s better wages than what the legislature could create for a unique group of workers, does not prohibit unionization, and offers the kinds of security as well as flexibility desired by drivers. The companies were forced to do well by their drivers. In sum, unions and advocates already won this argument for drivers that is better for these workers than most part time employees will get under AB 5 or current labor laws. It would be immoral to deny drivers this benefit simply because it came from the employers and not from unions and others. The proposition in no way impacts temporary workers who are hired for 9 to 5 positions. Those are very different working conditions and not addressed in this measure. They remain covered by the terms and standards set by AB 5. While this proposition does not go as far as we wish, it is a step in the right direction for many workers. There is nothing in this initiative to prevent the legislature from further strengthening it. We understand this is controversial, but for these reasons, we join our friends at the California NAACP in supporting this measure.
The Rev Dr Rick Schlosser