AB5, the disputed California bill that would boost the gig economy model of Uber, Lyft, and other technology companies, moved one step closer to becoming a law.
First introduced in the state assembly in January (and went a few months later, 53 to 11), AB5 is likely to force gambling jobs to classify its workers as employees rather than independent contractors – something these companies have fought, and continue to fight , powerful to resist.
Rideshare companies have created an interest group in the state – I'm an independent coalition – to try to convince drivers that being an entrepreneur without the right to overtime pay, health care or other benefits is preferable. They largely try to equate non-employee status with flexibility in working hours, as my colleague at Jalopnik Aaron Gordon points out, is completely unfounded. This coalition has taken the heat for allegedly paying drivers to protest AB5, while the companies themselves have urged their workers to sign petitions against the bill.
Recently, Uber, Lyft and Doordash have pledged to spend $ 90 million to oppose this legislation, while publicly offering a "compromise" to drivers in California at $ 21
The drivers themselves have been no less vocal in their defense against AB5. Gig Workers Rising and Mobile Workers Alliance organized a multi-day "caravan" which, among other things, blocked the street outside Uber headquarters for over an hour this week, demanding "AB5 and a union." (As contractors, currently, rideshare) drivers are limited in its ability to participate in collective labor measures, both legal and practical.)
The bill now moves to a full vote in the Senate, probably sometime next month.
"We are working on a solution that gives drivers strong protection that includes an income guarantee, a system of worker-managed portable benefits and the first of its kind industry sector negotiations without bringing the flexibility drivers tell us they value so much," said Adrian Durbin, senior communications director in Lyft to Gizmodo. "We are still focused on coming to an agreement and are sure to bring this issue to the voters if needed."
We have reached out to Uber for comment and will update if we hear back.
Updated with comment from Lyft