[NFBC-Info] Are Uber/Lyft Shutting Down in California?
president at nfbcal.org
president at nfbcal.org
Fri Aug 21 01:51:37 UTC 2020
Many of us have realized the benefits of ridesharing and food/grocery
delivery services in California. For blind people, these services offer
unprecedented access and convenience where transportation might have
otherwise been a barrier. Ridesharing, with the exception of drivers that
continue to discriminate, allows blind people to enjoy convenience
comparable to those with drivers licenses or personal vehicles. Many are
confused about whether or not Uber and Lyft are cancelling operations in
California today. You may have seen articles and statements from uber and
Lyft explaining that they were going to stop service in California by
midnight tonight. That is now not happening. Here is the digest version of
what you should know.
Last year, California enacted A.B. 5
0200AB5> , which makes it highly probable that sharing economy companies
such as Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash, etc., are now illegally
misclassifying drivers /shoppers as independent contractors instead of as
employees. On one hand, employees enjoy certain protections and rights that
independent contractors do not. On the other, independent contractors enjoy
some freedoms and flexibility that employees do not.
In response to A.B. 5, these companies organized to collect enough voter
signatures to add a special initiative on the ballot for the election this
November. Proposition 22
tractors_and_Labor_Policies_Initiative_(2020)> , if it passes, will modify
the law in A.B. 5 to ensure that the drivers/shoppers retain their status as
independent contractors. Drivers would also receive some, but not all,
protections and earnings guarantees traditionally associated with
Earlier this year, several city attorneys and the California Attorney
General engaged their power under A.B. 5 to immediately enforce the law
notwithstanding the issue for the ballot this November. They sought a court
order forcing Uber/Lyft to reclassify their drivers as employees and begin
paying all necessary costs associated with employment. Other city attorneys
are exploring similar actions for food delivery companies. A California
state judge recently granted the request of the Attorney General and city
attorneys and gave Uber/Lyft 10 days to appeal the order before it became
effective. Uber/Lyft appealed and threatened that they would terminate
service to California if the appeals court did not hear their case and put a
hold on the trial judge's order pending the outcome of the appeal.
The appeal was granted today (August 20, 2020) shortly after noon and
Uber/Lyft will not need to comply with the trial judge's order until after
their appeal is heard in full later this October. Meanwhile, Uber/Lyft have
no reason to be shutting down for now, though many folks received emails and
alerts today suggesting otherwise.
This all means that the voters will likely be able to decide the issue this
November by voting on Proposition 22. The question of whether the drivers
and shoppers that we all now depend on should be fully protected as
employees against their preference or given flexibility and basic minimum
protections as contractors is a highly political debate involving workers'
rights, freedom to contract and social policy. Many people believe that
forcing these drivers/shoppers and others to become employees will greatly
increase the price, availability and growth of these sharing economy
services. Others note that we should pay those we depend on a basic living
wage and that these companies with multi-billion-dollar valuations should
absorb the cost for their workers.
I encourage you to vote your preference. Prices for ridesharing and
grocery/delivery is very likely to increase if these individuals become
employees. We may also see longer wait times and reduced coverage in
smaller communities. That said, we should all ask ourselves whether the
compensation being paid to the workers that we now depend on is fair.
Further, are the minimum protections and earnings offered by Proposition 22
an appropriate compromise to this highly political debate? Vote! Vote!
Vote! Ensure your voice is heard on this important issue.
The National Federation of the Blind of California will be featuring some
debate and information about this topic at our state convention, October
22-25. Come learn more and educate yourself and others for the election.
Also, if you are passionate about this topic and want to speak in favor or
against Proposition 22 in various advocacy forums, our organization has been
asked to identify spokespersons for further advocacy. While the affiliate
will remain neutral on this highly political issue, I welcome debate and
further discussion. Affordable ride and delivery services are an
unquestionable benefit for blind people. But we also have a responsibility
as citizens to help our fellow man if we want to be treated likewise. Is
Proposition 22 a fair compromise? Contribute your voice to the debate.
Join our email list
Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/nationsblindca/> to receive notice
when the convention registration form is posted in the next few weeks.
National Federation of the Blind of California
president at nfbcal.org
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