No on Prop 22: Give Rideshare App Exploitation the Red Light

Lyft+and+Uber+are+two+of+the+leading+donors+of+Prop+22+Credit%3A+Mark+Boster%2FMCT+Press

Lyft and Uber are two of the leading donors of Prop 22 Credit: Mark Boster/MCT Press

Andreas Loretan, Opinion Editor

California’s Proposition 22 is a movement of power directly from the hands of working people and into the offices of tech company giants. The initiative, with funding that has reached over $180 million by DoorDash, Instacart, Uber, and Lyft, seeks to reverse California’s move to classify these gig-workers as employees and have them remain independent contractors. This would result in a major cutback of potential benefits, workers’ right to unionizing, and concession of sovereignty over to Silicon Valley oligarchs.

Voting yes on  Prop 22 would result in  gig-economy giants that will  continue to underpay and overexploit the people that make them all of their money. Being an employee means receiving sick pay, maternity leave, and overtime. Under the law that the yes campaign is proposing, these benefits would undoubtedly be slashed, as the companies in question operate on a profit-driven motive. To put it bluntly, denying their workers these financial benefits serves in their interests.

Under the ballot propositions, if you work for a gig-work app working 60 hours in a week, it will not award you any overtime pay. You also would not have access to unemployment insurance, since you were not technically employed in the first place. 

To the average person, it might seem odd that people who are working will not make the same benefits as other people working in a similar capacity, but these are the loopholes in the law that these apps are trying to secure.

Unfortunately, the yes side of the debate is way ahead of the opposition when looking at pretty much every statewide poll. This honestly should not shock anyone though. These companies have the resources to sway public opinion through a barrage of advertising, persuading their workers directly through their apps, and outright bending the truth in the form of “progressive” voters’ guides sneakily inserting endorsements of the initiative. When a proposition hinges on the power of big money versus labor, persuasion gets a lot easier with the help of bigger bank accounts.

If this initiative were to pass, ⅞ support from the state legislature would be needed to amend it all. In a time where partisanship is a constant topic of debate, this would make it close to impossible to change this measure in the near future. This gives these apps the power to enact this law for as long as they see fit. 

In the end, what this comes down to is our potential to tell California’s tech oligarchy that they have to obey us and not the other way around. We have the power here to plant a stake in the ground, to show that we do not want our friends, family, and neighbors, being exploited by corporations to extract the labor they want from us by earning them the rewards that we need. Don’t let Uber buy our labor rights and vote no on Prop 22. 

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