Gig worker initiative Prop 22 used by Lyft and Uber “unenforceable”, California judge rules

 

On Friday, in a major setback to gig operators who had bankrolled Prop 22 in California, an Alameda County Superior Court judge ruled against this proposition and called it “unenforceable.” The controversial proposition had been pushed by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates who spent more than $200 million to get it passed in California. It exempted these companies from classifying their gig workers as employees. Instead, they have been classified as independent contractors, getting lesser benefits.

 

Judge Frank Roesch said that the “entirety of Prop 22” was “unenforceable” as a section within the measure limited the power of a future legislature from defining app-based drivers as workers who were subject to compensation laws’ of workers. He said that this was “not severable” from the rest of the proposition.

 

The Alameda County Superior Court judge specifically referenced a section of the proposition that required a seven-eighth legislative majority in order to pass amendments and said that this was not in compliance with the constitution of California.

 

In his ruling, Roesch wrote that a prohibition on legislation that authorized collective bargaining did not promote the right to work as an independent worker, nor did it protect work flexibility, nor did it provide minimum workplace safety and pay standards for those workers.

 

He added that the measure appeared only to protect the economic interest of the network companies so that they could have a divided and a non-unionized workforce, which was “not a stated goal of the legislation.”

 

In a statement, the group of companies that supported gig economy and had spent huge amounts to Prop 22 said that they would appeal the decision.

 

In a statement Bob Schoonover, president of Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) California State Council hailed the judge’s decision. He said that the ruling showed that Prop 22 was “unconstitutional” and therefore it was “unenforceable.”

 

In simple words, Prop 22 allowed companies to treat drivers as independent contractors and give them some concessions but not all the benefits and protection these workers would have got, as per California’s laws, if the measure had not been passed.

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