California’s Prop 22 Ruled Unconstitutional, Judge Rules

Driver holds sign saying "No on 22" in response to a California ballot measure known as Prop 22

Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP (Getty Images)

In an surprising win for gig staff, a California decide on Friday night discovered the controversial 2020 poll measure often known as Proposition 22 unconstitutional on the grounds that it’s unenforceable. The ruling mounts a victory for gig staff whom the regulation exempted from state labor legal guidelines and a setback for firms like Uber and Lyft.

Judge Frank Roesch of the Alameda County Superior Court wrote that Prop 22 is unconstitutional “because it limits the power of a future legislature to define app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law.”

Created by a cadre of gig firms together with Uber, Lyft, and Doordash, Prop 22 rolled again California employee protections that will have required these firms to categorise impartial contractors, comparable to drivers and supply staff, as staff, thus guaranteeing them primary employee protections like paid sick days, minimal wage, and unemployment advantages (all of which might have been extraordinarily helpful throughout a lethal pandemic). These firms reportedly spent greater than $200 million to push the measure, which handed with 58% assist late final 12 months.

The passage of Prop 22 laid the groundwork for legislatures to move related legal guidelines in states throughout the nation. As such, labor teams across the U.S. cheered Friday’s ruling.

Bob Schoonover, President of SEIU California State Council—one of many events that introduced the authorized problem—stated in an announcement emailed to Gizmodo that firms like Uber and Lyft “ tried to boost their profits by undermining democracy and the state constitution.” Schoonover’s group marshals authorized efforts on behalf of the Service Employees International Union. “For two years, drivers have been saying that democracy cannot be bought. And today’s decision shows they were right.”

The ruling provides some hope for labor organizations gearing up for Prop 22 replicas in different states, the place gig firms have already began courting political allies and overtly pushing for brand new poll measures. (Soon after the passage of the poll measure, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told investors that he’d wish to broaden Prop 22-like laws “across the U.S. and the world.”) “This decision is a major blow to the Uber/Big Tech campaign to avoid paying taxes, avoid paying workers fairly, and escape liability to customers,” Mike Firestone, director of the Massachusetts department of the Coalition to Protect Workers’ Rights, stated in an announcement. “As we fight their $100 million copycat lobbying campaign to create a permanent underclass of workers in Massachusetts, we stand with the working people of California.”

Shona Clarkson, the lead organizer with Gig Workers Rising, echoed Firestone’s sentiments, calling Prop 22 an “illegal corporate power grab.”

“Prop 22 has always been an illegal corporate power grab that not only stole the wages, benefits and rights owed to gig workers but also ended the regulating power of our elected officials, allowing a handful of rogue corporations to continue to act above the law. Prop 22 is not just harmful for gig workers—it is also dangerous for our democracy. This fight is not over until all gig workers receive the living wages, benefits and voice on the job they have earned.”

In an announcement emailed to Gizmodo, Uber painted the decide’s resolution as a subversion of voters’ will whereas vowing to enchantment the ruling.

“This ruling ignores the will of the overwhelming majority of California voters and defies both logic and the law. You don’t have to take our word for it: California’s Attorney General strongly defended Prop 22’s constitutionality in this very case,” an Uber spokesperson stated. “We will appeal and we expect to win. Meanwhile, Prop 22 remains in effect, including all of the protections and benefits it provides independent workers across the state.”

Asked for remark, Lyft directed Gizmodo to an announcement made by the pro-Prop 22 group Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Coalition (PADS), previously often known as the Yes on Prop 22 Coalition, whose spokesperson additionally stated the group deliberate to enchantment the choice.

“We believe the judge made a serious error by ignoring a century’s worth of case law requiring the courts to guard the voters’ right of initiative. This outrageous decision is an affront to the overwhelming majority of California voters who passed Prop 22,” stated Geoff Vetter, a spokesperson for PADS. “We will file an immediate appeal and are confident the Appellate Court will uphold Prop 22. Importantly, this Superior Court ruling is not binding and will be immediately stayed upon our appeal. All of the provisions of Prop 22 will remain in effect until the appeal process is complete.”

In an emailed assertion, Doordash bluntly said that it refuses to acknowledge the ruling. “It will not stand,” the corporate stated. “Prop 22 remains in full effect, and workers across California will continue to enjoy the independence and protections they want.”

Roesch’s ruling stems from a case filed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and a gaggle of impartial contractors in February. Prior to that case, the California Supreme Court tossed a lawsuit filed by these events on the grounds that or not it’s filed in a decrease courtroom.

Despite the approaching appeals, staff’ rights organizations are counting Friday’s ruling as a victory over firms that use their struggle chests to crush gig staff.

“Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash try to buy the market with monopoly practices, and they tried to buy our democracy with their $200 million campaign of lies for Prop 22,” Erik Forman, co-founder of New York-based group The Drivers Cooperative and creator of driver-owed Uber competitor Coop Ride, stated in an electronic mail. “But they can’t buy the truth: all workers must have equal rights. Period.”

Read Judge Roesch’s full ruling beneath:

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