Southern California Record

Monday, December 9, 2019

Uber, Lyft propose ballot measure for app-based, on-demand drivers to remain independent contractors


By Chris Adams | Nov 11, 2019


SACRAMENTO – A ballot initiative created in response to the contentious Assembly Bill 5 legislation could be put before California voters next November.

The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act, sponsored by ride-hailing providers Uber and Lyft and prepared-food delivery service DoorDash, would preserve the right for drivers to work as independent contractors along with wage and benefit guarantees.

Yet it primarily pertains to workers driving for tech ride-hailing and delivery businesses. Drivers in other segments of transportation or delivery are not included in the ballot measure.

“The ballot initiative being sponsored by Silicon Valley tech firms will have no impact on trucking (if it were successful),”Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs and communications of the Western States Trucking Association, said. “They decided to run with a ballot measure specific only to saving their business model instead of taking on the entirety of AB 5.”

AB 5 determines the classification of workers – independent contractor vs. employee – through a challenging ABC test that was codified into law from a California Supreme Court decision designated as the Dynamex standard.

Uber and Lyft combined have funded the proposed measure’s campaign with $60 million.

“We are hiring the best campaign team available, and we are working to expand the coalition to include other businesses who face uncertainty in the wake of AB 5,” said Uber chief legal officer Tony West in a September call with media that was transcribed and posted on the Uber website.

Rajkovacz thinks the exclusionary language of the ballot measure will ultimately result in its failure.

“I personally think this decision to limit their ballot measure so narrowly will be an epic fail for them," he said. "As a voter in an industry negatively affected by AB 5, why should I waste my vote to save their business model while my particular industry gets slammed? It’s their money to do as they wish obviously, but I do think a broad-based ballot measure to repeal AB 5 entirely would have had wider appeal to voters.”   

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