You probably can’t turn on the TV for five minutes without seeing a Yes on Prop 22 ad. The tech giants – Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart – are spending $184 million, which buys a lot of fancy TV spots. In fact, that $184 million is more than any campaign has spent on a ballot measure in the history of the United States. But why are these multi-billion-dollar companies spending so much to try to fool voters into believing Prop 22 is a good thing for California?
The answer to that question is simple. Greed. These companies are using Prop 22 to rig the rules for themselves at the expense of workers and taxpayers. Let’s look behind the curtain to see what Prop 22 is really all about.
What is Prop 22? Prop 22 may seem complex, but it actually boils down to this: Wealthy app-based companies like Uber and Lyft are attempting to buy their own law through the ballot measure process that would exempt them from complying with labor laws that all other businesses in California follow. For example, if Prop 22 passes, Uber wouldn’t have to pay a minimum wage. Or provide paid sick leave. No family leave after the birth of a child. No workers’ compensation if a driver is injured on the job. No unemployment insurance if a worker is laid off.
Not only that, these wealthy companies would never have to contribute a dime to safety-net programs we all use like Medicare and Social Security. If that weren’t bad enough, Prop 22 eliminates these companies from any liability to those who use their services, even in the event of injury or death caused by an accident.
Who’s behind Prop 22? This isn’t a grassroots campaign with small-dollar donations. The $184 million for Prop 22 was provided by just four companies: Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart. These four companies are collectively valued at about $100 billion.
In the TV ads, it seems like Prop 22 might be good for workers. Is that true? Not even close. Prop 22 is a scam. The TV ads are full of deception and lies. For example, there’s nothing in current law that would prevent drivers from maximum flexibility if they were classified correctly as part- or full-time employees. Moreover, Prop 22 didn’t come about in response to any one law. Uber and Lyft have been breaking the law for years to deny drivers protections like a minimum wage, company-provided safety equipment and sick days.
And drivers aren’t the backers of this initiative. Wealthy CEOs looking to pad their bottom line are behind this. In fact, more than 50,000 drivers across the state are actively campaigning against the measure because it strips those drivers of basic protections they deserve and need.
Do most workers for these companies really just work a “few hours a week” as the ads claim? No. In fact, 71% of drivers, work more than 30 hours a week, according to a UC Santa Cruz study. That study also found 78% of drivers are people of color and because these companies don’t follow the law, many of their workers make so little they have to rely on public assistance to make ends meet.
Who’s against Prop 22? The list of those who have endorsed the No on Prop 22 campaign is long and growing every day. Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, The California Democratic Party, hundreds of local elected officials, civil rights, community groups and labor unions across the state have joined forces to oppose Prop 22. The state’s largest newspaper, the LA Times, endorsed a No on Prop 22 position. California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra and city attorneys have sued Uber and Lyft for breaking the law by denying workers basic protections through illegally classifying them as independent contractors.
The supporters of this harmful measure include the Trump Administration, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and the California Republican Party. In fact, the Yes on 22 campaign recently gave the California GOP $2 million to support GOP politicians who want to strip workers of basic rights and protections.
What’s at stake? If Prop 22 passes, it will pry the door wide open for these app companies to expand into virtually every industry in California, threatening to turn good-paying middle-class jobs into low-wage, dead-end gigs. If these companies succeed in avoiding laws that protect workers by essentially buying their own law, it undermines workers’ rights for us all and perverts the democratic process. No corporation should be above the law.
What can I do to help defeat Prop 22? First and foremost, VOTE NO on Prop 22! Take the pledge to vote NO at www.SickOfGigGreed.com. Tell friends and family this is all a scam by rich CEOs to cheat the system, avoid taxes and harm workers. The No on 22 campaign doesn’t have hundreds of millions of dollars. But what we do have is everyday people who are talking to relatives, neighbors and other folks in their communities about the dangers of Prop 22. Together, we’ll beat back this harmful initiative and send a message to the corporate CEOs that they can’t write their own rules! NO on PROP 22!
Paid for by the California Labor Federation