Los Angeles —San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman’s ruling today that Uber and Lyft must abide by the law and properly classify their drivers as employees is a major victory for not only Uber and Lyft drivers, but for all app-based workers and California taxpayers. The more than 18,000 Mobile Workers Alliance members applaud this step toward real labor protections for drivers.
“This is what we’ve been fighting for over the past two years,” Lyft driver and Mobile Workers Alliance organizer Mike Robinson said. “Any driver can tell you that we are obviously employees and we’re essential to the success of Uber and Lyft. We know it, the state legislature knew it when they passed AB5, and Judge Schulman has confirmed it today. It’s time for Uber and Lyft to give up their war on their own employees, drop their insulting ballot measure and begin providing us with the wages, healthcare and workers’ rights that we’ve earned.”
Uber and Lyft have ten days to appeal the decision. The companies, along with Doordash and Postmates, are also bankrolling a more than $110 million ballot measure, Prop 22, that would strip drivers of labor protections and allow the companies to regulate themselves.
“Since the beginning, these companies have been bad actors,” SEIU 721 president Bob Schoonover said. “Their entire business model is based around using technology to circumvent labor laws that working people have fought and died for over the past century. They’ve been cheating drivers, they’ve been cheating California taxpayers and it’s high time that they join us in the 21st century when it comes to employee protections. Judge Schulman made the right decision today and, though I have no doubt that Uber and Lyft will do everything in their power to continue to exploit drivers by any means necessary, I’m confident that working people will ultimately prevail.”
Mobile Workers Alliance is an organizing project of SEIU Local 721 that is fighting for employee status and union rights for app-based workers.
The New York Times reports Uber is looking to change labor laws:
|Gig workers for Uber, Lyft, Instacart and other companies are classified in the United States as independent contractors who have significant flexibility but aren’t entitled to standard employment protections, including a minimum wage and paid sick days. During the pandemic, the lack of a safety net for these workers has been glaring.|
|Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s chief executive, argued in The New York Times this week for a “third way” — a new employment status with the flexibility of contract work but also some employee-like protections.|