Opinion

Voters Overwhelming Approve Prop 22, Saving the Rideshare Industry in California

Written by Justin Culetu 

Proposition 22 received strong support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, giving app-based drivers the freedom to continue working as independent contractors. The proposition will help save a host of rideshare jobs while requiring companies to provide benefits to their drivers, such as medical coverage, guaranteed hourly earnings, protections against sexual harassment and discrimination, and more. It will also help keep rideshare and food delivery services at an affordable price for consumers. 

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was crucial that Prop 22 was implemented in order to help drivers receive some sort of income at a time when income remains uncertain for many. If Prop 22 failed, major rideshare companies indicated that they were likely to leave the state completely.

Although Proposition 22 saves the app-based driving industry in California, Assembly Bill 5, authored by State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, continues to hinder the prosperity of workers and service providers in other industries. AB 5 was signed into law in 2019 by Gov. Gavin Newsom, requiring companies to recategorize independent contractors as employees.

While companies like Uber and Lyft are now exempt as a result of Prop 22, most industries are not. AB 5 has negatively affected millions of gig workers, including truck drivers, janitors, home health aides, tutors, freelance writers, and others. Many professions have received “carve-outs,” such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, architects, insurance agents, and now Uber and Lyft, but if a bill requires this many exemptions, shouldn’t that go to show that it’s deeply flawed?

Prop 22 was needed to save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of app-based employees in California, but what we really need is a full repeal of AB 5. That and an apology from the state to all of the gig workers who had their lives turned upside down when their livelihoods were effectively outlawed by Democrats.