AB5, a controversial California bill that will use the gig economy model of Uber, Lyft, and other tech companies, has taken a step closer to becoming law.
First introduced at the National Assembly in January (and a few months later, 53 to 11), AB5 is likely to force concert companies to reclassify their employees as employees rather than independent contractors – something for which these companies have fought and continue to fight, vigorously opposed.
Rideshare Companies backed a statewide stakeholder group – I am an independent coalition – trying to convince drivers that being a contractor without the right to pay overtime, healthcare or other benefits is preferable. To a large extent, they try to equate the status of unaccepted employees with the flexibility of working hours, which, as my Jalopnik colleague Aaron Gordon points out, is extremely unfounded. The coalition took heat for allegedly paying drivers to protest AB5, while the companies themselves urged workers to sign petitions against the bill.
Recently, Uber, Lyft, and Doordash committed to spend a total of $ 90 million to oppose this legislation, while publicly offering a "compromise" to California drivers of $ 21
The drivers themselves were no less energetic in their defense of AB5. Gig Workers Rising and the Mobile Workers Alliance have organized a multi-day "caravan" that, among other actions, has blocked the street at Uber Headquarters for more than an hour this week, requiring "AB5 and Union". drivers are limited in their ability to engage in collective action, both legally and practically.
"We are working on a solution that provides drivers with strong protection, including an income guarantee, a system of portable employee-oriented benefits, and a first-of-its-kind industry bargaining without compromising the flexibility that drivers tell us they appreciate it so much, ”Adrian Durbin, senior communications director at Lyft, told Gizmodo. "We remain focused on reaching a deal and are confident that we will make this matter available to voters if necessary."
We reached out to Uber for comment and will update if we hear back.
Updated with comment by Lyft