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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.54 minutes to read.

“Tech giants like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash may soon be knocking on people’s doors — but it won’t be to deliver a meal or a ride. Instead, they’ll be asking for help in their effort to knee-cap protections for the gig workers they employ…

These gig-economy goliaths are hell-bent on making sure their workers are considered independent contractors and not employees. That’s because, under state and federal laws, employees are entitled to protections including minimum wage, paid sick leave, safe workplaces, and unemployment and workers’ comp insurance — while independent contractors enjoy none of these.

As a result, many companies misclassify their employees as independent contractors — cheating them out of their rights while side-stepping employment-related payments they owe…

In 2017, gig workers totaled one-third of our nation’s workforce. That percentage has since grown. In 2019, the Federal Reserve reported that 58% of full-time gig workers said they would find it hard to come up with $400 in the event of an emergency…

So if [Uber & DoorDash] come knocking with another Prop 22, tell them you’re not interested — because the table scraps they’re offering is hardly the square meal their workers deserve.”

Michael Felsen of Jamaica Plain, Mass., retired in 2018 after a 39-year career as an attorney with the Department of Labor.

“Proposition 22, which would classify drivers for app-based services such as Uber and Lyft as independent contractors but guarantee them certain benefits, is an ink-blot test.
If you think these companies are predators that exploit workers and compete unfairly, you’ll see the measure as yet another effort by the tech industry to circumvent the rules by which responsible corporate citizens play. If you think the apps provide workers an easy means to make extra money and consumers an affordable alternative to taxis, you’ll see Proposition 22 as a way to hold onto a service you value.

In reality, the measure is a fix designed by Uber and its counterparts for a problem the California Supreme Court created when it issued its Dynamex decision in 2018, making it harder for employers to classify workers as independent contractors…

One of the key innovations of app-based companies is their ability to match whatever workers are available to the customers seeking services, enabling individual workers to come and go on their own schedule. The challenge for the state is to preserve that innovation while guarding against the exploitation of those who rely on app platforms for their livelihoods. And it’s a balance that must be struck broadly, not just for companies that lawmakers or voters favor. Proposition 22 doesn’t meet that challenge.”

Editorial Board, LA Times ($)

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.54 minutes to read.

“Back in November, labor advocates argued that Proposition 22 would create dangerous and unlivable working conditions. They were wrong. And thankfully, if we let it, the ballot initiative will teach us an important lesson about non-traditional employment in the gig economy…

New survey results provide a first glimpse of what app-based drivers think about their working conditions. Contrary to what labor advocates have argued, drivers appear to be happy with their job structure, which suggests that attempts to upend the gig economy are closer to political theater than actual reform…

According to the survey of 378 drivers, 4 out of 5 respondents were happy that Proposition 22 passed. 75% believed that Proposition 22 created a better future for app-based drivers, either through flexibility, independence, or a stronger safety net of benefits. Many also supported the ballot measure because they did not want to be forced into full-time, fixed schedules.

The results provide a long-awaited answer in the employment classification debate: gig workers like being gig workers. It’s not exploitation, it is an alternative working arrangement and a choice.”

Rachel Chiu is a Young Voices contributor who writes about technology and employment policy. (Published in the Orange County Register)

“Proposition 22 came in response to Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), a California law that imposed some of the most significant restrictions on independent contractors in American history.

The law intended to force businesses such as Uber and Lyft to hire freelance workers as employees with health care and other employment benefits typically afforded to full-time employees. Several states are considering AB5-copycat legislation, and Joe Biden endorsed it. But the law doesn’t just target wealthy, big tech companies such as Uber and Lyft. In California, it encompassed the state’s entire gig economy, forcing millions of independent workers into making an all-or-nothing choice about whether to become a full-time worker or not to work at all. In addition to sending thousands of California workers to the unemployment line, AB5 restricted the ability of business owners to employ them, causing many of them to suffer and even consider shutting down…

The law has been so devastating on the state’s gig economy, dozens of politically connected professions — musicians, translators, writers, producers, and photographers — have successfully lobbied for exemptions. The fight for special exemptions isn’t cheap: Uber, Lyft, Postmates, Instacart, and DoorDash spent a whopping $200 million to support Proposition 22.

While it’s nice that industries with big microphones and deep pockets were able to successfully lobby for carve-outs, the devastating effects of AB5 persist for thousands of independent workers and small-business owners throughout the state.”

Kelsey Bolar, senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum. She is also an editor of BRIGHT, a morning newsletter for women, by women, a contributor to The Federalist, and a senior fellow at The Steamboat Institute. (Published in National Review)