What do we know about Proposition (Prop) 22?

You probably have seen the television ads on Proposition 22. But, you probably know nothing about it except what you’ve seen or heard the proponents and opponents of the Proposition tell through the paid-ads.

What should we really know about Proposition 22?

Everything that there’s to know.

How do we find out what we need to know about Proposition 22?

  1. By doing our own due diligences to be informed before November 3rd;
  2. By talking directly (aka interviewing) with those directly impacted by the Proposition; that is, the Uber and Lyft drivers, including the UberEats, Postmates, DoorDash, Lyft (and the other lesser-known companies’) drivers/couriers;
  3. And by voting accordingly based on our own conclusions.

What is Prop 22?

Prop. 22 addresses the “Self-employment for ride-hail and other app-drivers.” Read more about it here.

“Proposition 22, the App-Based Drivers-as-Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative, is on the ballot in California as an initiated state statute on November 3, 2020.”

. . .

There are both proponents and opponents for the Proposition.

“Through September 23, 2020, the Yes on Proposition 22 received $184.3 million, which is the most funds that an initiative campaign has ever received in California (not adjusted for inflation). Uber contributed $50 million, Lyft provided $48 million, DoorDash contrubuted $47 million, InstaCart provided $28 million, and Postmates provided $11 million.”

The amount contributed by these five companies pales in comparison to the amount of $10.7 million raised by the opposition; the campaign for No on Prop 22, which had the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, SEIU-UHW West, Service Employees International Union, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 770, and United Food & Commercial Workers Western States Issues PAC—labor unions or union-affiliated committee as the top-five donors.

This is what I know …

  • My belief is that Proposition 22 hurts the drivers/delivery/couriers. If you believe otherwise, I’ll like to hear your reasons.
  • The drivers/couriers (aka gig workers or independent contractors) use their vehicles, on the big companies’ platforms, for the business of transporting folks from one point to the other.
  • Some of these companies also engage in food and grocery deliveries.
  • That the pay is meagre and there’s no payment for mileage; neither is medical or dental benefits given.
  • The drivers/couriers’ use of their personal vehicles rack up horrendous miles on the car.
  • Insurance for the average vehicle covers only 9,000 miles per year. Some insurance companies might cover up to 12,000 miles per year.
  • But an Uber, Lyft driver racks those miles up in roughly two months or less resulting in four to five times the mileage coverage per year. This is heavy wear-and-tear on the owner’s vehicle which non of the companies care to compensate!
  • A few wise drivers might get a commercial insurance that allow for such heavy usage. But, the heavy wear-and-tear is uncoverable!

Five companies donated a whooping $47 million each towards fighting to defend Proposition 22.

If

  • • the companies deem their drivers/couriers as significant assets to their businesses, and
  • • recognize that human capital is the greatest asset of any business, and
  • • had each “donated” half of those monies to their drivers/couriers’ welfare,

there, would not have been any need for either AB 5 (the predecessor) nor Proposition 22 to repeal the former.

. . .

Other Opinions

I agree with the Los Angeles (LA) Times’ opinion ed that “these companies are predators that exploit workers and compete unfairly.” They found a loophole in the system and are riding on the backs (and vehicles) of their drivers/couriers.

According to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article, “Uber says fewer than 2% of its more than 200,000 drivers in California use its app for 40 hours or more a week; Lyft says 86% of its more than 300,000 drivers in the state drive fewer than 20 hours a week.”

This data, if true, sheds more light on the whole issue and questions why the companies are paying exorbitantly to defend the Proposition.

Will, or can, these companies fully-employ all?

Will, or can, these companies fully-employ all their drivers/couriers, who consist majorly of the “vulnerables” – my definition of those desperate for work – including minorities who presently hustle for them, is unrealizable.

The drivers/couriers, in my opinion, fall into three main categories; namely those who

  1. 1. driving/couriering has become their main job,
  2. 2. drive/deliver part-time to make extra income for a specific event, such as a vacation, to make a big purchase, etc.,and
  3. 3. drive just because they have the extra time and chose to fill it up being useful to themselves, the companies, and society.

The second and third categories above have their main jobs and are only supplementing.

Our concerns therefore should focus on the first category; that is, those who drive/deliver as their main job. These are folks who work at least thirty (30+) hours per week. Most of these folks put in tons of hours per week. Labor laws allow them to work a maximum of 14 hours per day, with a six (6) hour break thereafter before returning to work. These long hours is comparable to the long hours worked medical and investment boutiques staff. But, these workers do not earn anything comparable to the other professions!

Did I hear someone ask, “but they don’t have the same degree?” Not true, the majority of these drivers/couriers are degreed and unemployed but are being paid minimum wages. The only folks making the money are the companies.

Should the opponents of Proposition 22 win, categories two and three above might not even qualify to be employed and thus be automatically eliminated. Except, of course, they accept the late and/or weekend hours that will allow the two categories to drive/deliver after their main jobs.

Which takes me to the second concern that the companies might force the drivers/couriers to work undesirable hours thereby taking away the independence of the drivers/couriers.

These companies also do not fully pay their drivers/couriers the tips earned, they often delay the payment of those tips, and also restrict/cap the amount and/or percentages of allowable tips. For example customers who desire to pay their drivers/couriers over 18% are incapable of doing so because the companies’ apps have been restricted. I am unaware of any Labor Laws in support of capping tips. Please comment if you are aware of any such law(s).

In Conclusion

Californians, on November 3rd, please think before you vote on Proposition 22. It is more than losing the alternative to taxis, and definitely more than taking “self-employment” away from the people. It is more about making the “Big Greedy Brothers” accountable and exercising fair employment to the human capital that drives their industry.

My two cents. Thanks for reading and sharing. Open to comments and constructive opinions.

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