Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash file California ballot initiative to define their drivers as independent contractors and enact labor policies
Representatives of DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber filed a ballot initiative in California for the Nov. 3, 2020 election in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which provides a three-factor test to determine whether a driver is an independent contractor or employee.
The ballot measure would override AB 5 and define app-based drivers as independent contractors and not employees or agents.
DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber have each contributed $30 million into campaign accounts to fund the ballot initiative campaign. Brandon Castillo, a representative for the campaign supporting the initiative, said, “We’re going to spend what it takes to win. It’s been widely reported that three of the companies already shifted $90 million, but we’re still in the early phases. The bottom line is: We’re committed to passing this.”
The ballot measure would also enact labor and wage policies specific to app-based drivers and companies, including a net earnings floor based on 120 percent of the state’s or municipality’s minimum wage and 30 cents per mile; a limitation on the hours a driver is permitted to work during a 24-hour period; health care subsidies; occupational accident insurance; and accidental death insurance.
The proposal would require the companies to develop anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policies. The proposed net earnings floor and health care subsidies would be based on a worker’s engaged time, which is defined as the time between accepting a customer request and completing the request.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), who introduced AB 5, criticized the concept of engaged time, saying, “Their wage floor suggests if If I’m a cashier, I’m only paid while there’s a customer in my line, not when I’m waiting for the next customer.” She also said the benefits of being considered an employee outweigh what the initiative would provide to app-based drivers.
The campaign Protect App-Based Drivers & Services stated, “If rideshare and delivery drivers are forced to be classified as employees with set shifts, it could significantly limit the availability and affordability of these on-demand services that benefit consumers, small businesses and our economy. In addition, current law for independent contractors denies companies the ability to provide many workplace protections, such as guaranteed hourly earnings and benefits. State law also makes it difficult for rideshare and delivery service companies to implement many customer and public safety protections.”
The next step for the campaign is to receive ballot language from state Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D). He is expected to release petition language on Jan. 2, 2020, which would allow the campaign to begin collecting the 623,212 valid signatures needed to make the ballot. The deadline for signature verification is June 25, 2020. The recommended deadline to file signature petitions for verification using a random sample is April 21.