A group of Lyft, Uber and DoorDash drivers are announcing this morning in Sacramento a statewide ballot measure for the November 2020 ballot. Called the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act — funded by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash — the measure aims to ensure drivers and couriers can continue to be independent contractors with flexible work hours.
The ballot measure looks to implement an earnings guarantee of at least 120% of minimum wage while on the job, 30 cents per mile for expenses, a healthcare stipend, occupational accident insurance for on-the-job injuries, protection against discrimination and sexual harassment and automobile accident and liability insurance.
This initiative is a direct response to the legalization of AB-5, the gig worker bill that will make it harder for the likes of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other gig economy companies to classify their workers as 1099 independent contractors.
“The new law could take this flexibility away – potentially eliminating hundreds of thousands of work opportunities and forcing app-based drivers into rigid employment schedules whether they prefer it or not,” the group wrote in a Q&A. “Furthermore, 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.”
However, as driver and protest organizer Annette Rivero previously told TechCrunch’s Greg Epstein, “AB5 doesn’t take away anybody’s flexibility, it’s the companies that take away the flexibility. Because I know that that’s something that everyone’s stuck on right now, and it’s a lie. There’s no truth to it.”
In August, Uber, Lyft and DoorDash each put $30 million toward this ballot initiative. Following the passage of AB-5, Uber Chief Legal Officer Tony West said Uber would be willing to put additional money toward the initiative, and plans to keep defending its worker model. Instacart also supports this initiative, but the company would not clarify if it has put money behind it.
“Instacart is part of a broad and growing coalition of organizations supporting this ballot measure to protect the rights of on-demand rideshare and delivery drivers to choose flexible work as independent contractors, while providing historic new earnings and benefit guarantees and strong consumer and public safety protections,” an Instacart spokesperson told TechCrunch.
On the other side of this battle is Gig Workers Rising, an organization with hundreds of gig workers who have consistently demanded better pay, workplace protections and driver-led unions.
“This is yet another example of corporations and billionaires trying to exempt themselves from the democratic process by using wealth and fear tactics,” Gig Workers Rising organizer and driver Edan Alva said in a statement. “For years, these companies have refused to pay drivers fairly or treat us with respect. After working 80 hour weeks, sleeping in our cars and surviving on poverty wages, drivers organized and won support for AB5 from both the public and lawmakers. Now, instead of obeying the law, Uber, Lyft and Doordash want to spend $90 million to avoid accountability – all while claiming it will ‘protect’ drivers. Uber and Lyft were nowhere to be found for the past many years when drivers like me needed healthcare or basic labor protections. We call on the people of California to resist the corporate lies, to stand with drivers and against the billionaires.”
Coming up next week, Gig Workers Rising along with other organizations are protesting outside the homes of those who will cash out from Uber’s IPO.
I’ve reached out to Uber, Lyft and DoorDash and will update this story if I hear back.