Prop. 22 Struck Down By Courts As Unconstitutional

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In last year’s election, gig economy apps like Uber, Lyft, and Doordash spent more than $220 million to pass Prop. 22, a terrible law that completely undermined gig workers rights. That law allowed them to exempt their drivers from California labor laws, which meant they were paying less than minimum wage and giving them no benefits.

But on late Friday afternoon, a judge tossed the law off the books. In hearing an appeal, Alameda County Superior Court Frank Roesch ruled that Prop. 22 “appears only to protect the economic interest of the network companies in having a divided, ununionized workforce,” and that it’s required seven-eighths legislative majority for any amendments to the law “limits the power of a future legislature to define app-based drivers as workers subject to workers’ compensation law.”

Driver advocates were thrilled with the ruling. “Prop 22 has always been an illegal corporate power grab that not only stole the wages, benefits and rights owed to gig workers but also ended the regulating power of our elected officials, allowing a handful of rogue corporations to continue to act above the law,” Gig Workers Rising lead organizer Shona Clarkson said in a statement. “Prop 22 is not just harmful for gig workers—it is also dangerous for our democracy. This fight is not over until all gig workers receive the living wages, benefits and voice on the job they have earned.”

The tech companies basically overshot their load on this one. They added a requirement in Prop. 22 that if the state legislature was ever going to make any modifications to the law, they would need a seven-eighths majority vote to do it. You make have heard of a two-thirds “supermajority” requirement for certain extreme legislative moves (like removing an impeached president from office), but a seven-eighths majority — 88%! — is a completely anti-democratic rule, as the judge agreed. 

The app-based delivery companies plan to appeal the ruling, and they’re already talking shit to Bloomberg News that this means they’ll have to raise their prices. Funny, they already did raise their prices right after Prop. 22 passed, and then again at the beginning of this summer. It may be time to accept the fact that Uber, Lyft, and Doordash are always going to keep raising their prices, regardless of whether they are giving their drivers benefits, and will never be profitable companies at any point in our lifetimes.

“This gig economy model was never sustainable,” University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business professor Gad Allon. “Companies had a chance to build a new framework that accounts for worker benefits in their cost structures. This ruling shows they lost that opportunity. They’re not dictating the terms anymore.”

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Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura- Millionaire in Training

Joe Kukura is a two-bit marketing writer who excels at the homoerotic double-entendre. He is training to run a full marathon completely drunk and high, and his work has appeared in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal on days when their editors made particularly curious decisions.