California voters will decide this November whether to exempt app-based drivers and couriers — like those working for Uber, Lyft and DoorDash — from a state law that sought to classify the drivers as employees.
A measure proposed by the three companies qualified Friday for the statewide ballot, Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.
If voters approve the measure, app-based drivers and couriers would be exempt from California’s new gig-work law AB5, which classifies these workers as independent contractors so they would be guaranteed some benefits, such as a form of workers’ compensation and disability insurance.
Padilla will certify the initiative as qualified for the November 3 General Election ballot election on June 25. The petition to add the measure to the ballot garnered nearly 755,000 signatures, considerably more than the 623,212 signatures needed to qualify.
“App-based delivery drivers and services are essential to deliver warm meals, medicine and groceries to families and seniors forced to shelter in place,” said Jim Pyatt, who is doing delivery driving during the coronavirus outbreak, in a statement circulated by the measure’s supporters. The ballot measure, he said, “is needed to ensure these essential services continue to exist.”
Art Pulaski, the executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, which opposes the measure, said in a Friday evening statement: “We’re confident voters will reject this cynical measure to ensure these multi-billion dollar companies play by the same rules as all other law-abiding businesses.”
The ballot measure fight could end up as one of the most expensive in California history, pitting the war chests of companies like Uber, Lyft and Doordash against that of organized labor.
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