Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft scored a major victory with the passage of Proposition 22 in California, and worker rights advocates fear they will push similar measures in other states. Prop 22 will exempt companies in the so-called gig economy from having to classify their workers in the state as employees rather than as independent contractors. Uber, Lyft and other companies that rely on gig workers spent more than $200 million to promote Prop 22, and a survey of California voters who voted “yes” on the measure showed 40% thought they were supporting gig workers’ ability to earn a living wage, even though critics say the measure will do the opposite. “The law will now exempt drivers like me from basic wage and labor protections afforded to most workers in the state in the middle of a pandemic and recession,” says Cherri Murphy, a Lyft driver and organizer with Gig Workers Rising. We also speak with Veena Dubal, professor of law at the University of California, Hastings, who says measures like Prop 22 pose “extreme danger” to American workers. “If this spreads past California, we are headed for an even worse situation of inequality than we are already experiencing,” Dubal says.
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