According to The Hill, it’s been a confusing 18 months, for Uber and Lyft drivers in California. First he state legislature passed a law saying that anyone who works in the “sharing economy” would now be treated as a full-time employee and not an independent contractor.
Good in some ways, not so good in others. Full-time employees get benefits, can organize and bargain collectively and enjoy all of the workplace protections as every full-time worker in California. But they lose the flexibility that comes with being an independent contractor. This includes setting their own schedules, deciding what jobs to take or not to take, and being restricted to working for just one company. It might also mean a decrease in pay, because company would have to charge higher prices (the money to pay benefits has to come from somewhere), which could reduce customer demand and make things less busy.
But before drivers could even get used to their new status, the companies most affected – Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Postmates – refused to comply with the new law and launched a ballot referendum to overturn it. They started spending on the campaign. And they kept spending spending over $200 million in all. Proposition 22 passed and now drivers are independent contractors again.
So what does this mean for divers? In some ways, nothing; in some ways, everything. It means that, at least in California, they’re always going to be able to work for as many platforms as they want. It means they can decide how they work, when they work, and where they work. And it also means that if they want what comes with a full-time job — the benefits and obligations — Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and the other platforms are probably not the right place for them.