California app-based drivers, rideshare consumers and labor unions have filed a lawsuit alleging Proposition 22 violates the state’s constitution and should be struck down.
The suit, filed in California Supreme Court, alleges Prop 22 unconstitutionally limits the power of elected officials to govern by stripping the legislature’s ability to grant workers the right to organize for improvements to their pay and working conditions as well as by illegally excluding them from the state workers’ compensation program. The suit also asserts Prop 22 violates a provision in the state constitution requiring ballot initiatives address only a single subject.
Plaintiffs include rideshare drivers Hector Castellanos, Saori Okawa, Michael Robinson; Joseph Delgado, a user of app-based rideshare services; and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and SEIU California State Council.
“Every day, rideshare drivers like me struggle to make ends meet because companies like Uber and Lyft prioritize corporate profits over our wellbeing,” said Okawa. “With Prop 22, they’re not just ignoring our health and safety — they’re discarding our state’s constitution.”
Prop 22, which took effect last month, defines “App-Based Drivers” as independent contractors rather than as employees, and thereby withdraws basic employment protections from them, including workers’ compensation coverage. It also precludes the legislature from passing various types of legislation not directly related to the measure’s classification of App-Based Drivers as independent contractors.
The measure has reportedly left rideshare drivers in a precarious position as California experiences a dangerous spike in COVID-19 infections. Prop 22 allegedly stripped California gig workers of basic rights like overtime pay, paid family leave, sick days, unemployment insurance and a voice on the job through a union. Instead, Prop 22 is said to place the power to protect drivers in the hands of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft — the very same companies who wrote the law and spent over $200 million to pass it last November.