Uber and Lyft drivers in California sue to overturn Prop 22 ballot measure

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A group of Uber and Lyft drivers in California filed a lawsuit on Tuesday in the state Supreme Court to overturn a voting measure that allows companies to continue to treat their workers as independent contractors.

Drivers say Prop 22, which was approved by California voters last November, violates the state constitution by “removing” the state legislature’s ability to empower workers to organize, as well. than by “illegally” excluding carpooling drivers from state workers. “Compensation program.

“Carpool drivers like me struggle to make ends meet every day because companies like Uber and Lyft prioritize corporate profits over our well-being,” plaintiff Saori Okawa said in a statement. « With Prop 22, they’re not just ignoring our health and safety – they’re rejecting our state’s constitution.

Drivers who challenge the constitutionality of Prop 22 are backed by unions such as the SEIU and the California Labor Federation, which have unsuccessfully opposed the move as the election approaches.

But in the end, the job was overtaken and overtaken by companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash, which invested more than $ 200 million in the “Yes in 22” campaign to exempt them from a law of the State of California that would require them to treat their workers like employees. Businesses have vigorously opposed the law, arguing that it would take away flexibility from drivers, while increasing consumer prices and wait times.

The AB5 law represented an existential crisis for companies, none of which ever made a profit, and which pursued costly efforts to develop autonomous technology in the hope of eventually replacing drivers and delivery people. In response, the companies proposed a voting measure that would keep their workers as entrepreneurs, while providing minimal additional benefits.

It is unclear how well pilots will successfully reverse Prop 22. The measure has been drafted in a way that will withstand future challenges, including a provision that requires a seven-eighths majority in the state legislature for any changes. , and guaranteeing impossible to invalidate.

But drivers are trying to use that language to claim that Prop 22 was illegal since its inception. The plaintiffs note that the California state constitution gives the legislature “unlimited” power to provide a workers’ compensation system, “so that power cannot be limited by statutory initiative.

“We look forward to the court ruling that concert companies cannot deprive workers of their fundamental right to bargain for better wages and working conditions – and that companies alone should not dictate the laws of our state.” said Bob Schoonover, president of SEIU Local 721. and SEIU California State Council, in a statement.

Voting measures have been successfully repealed in California in the past, but mainly through additional voting measures. If the trial fails, the only other recourse from drivers and unions in favor of overturning Proposition 22 may be another voting initiative.

The drivers organize trailers in San Francisco and Los Angeles in support of the lawsuit against Prop 22.

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