Michael Gonzales, 35, votes at the Uber Hub polling station, during the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Redondo Beach, Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 2, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Voters in trend-setting California backed a ballot proposal by Uber and its allies that cements app-based food delivery and ride-hail drivers’ status as independent contractors, not employees, according to a projection by data provider Edison Research.
Victory in the most expensive ballot contest in state history is a rebuke to state legislators and allows Uber, Lyft and allies to set the employment terms of the gig economy that they helped create. Some had threatened to leave California, their home market, if they lost.
The measure, known as Proposition 22, marked the culmination of years of legal and legislative wrangling over a business model that introduced millions of people to the convenience of ordering food or a ride with the push of a button.
Companies described the contest as a matter of ensuring flexibility for a new generation of workers who want to choose when and how they work. Opponents saw it as an effort to exploit workers and avoid employee-related costs that could amount to more than $392 million each for Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc, a Reuters calculation showed.
Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates, some of whom threatened to shut down in California if they lost, poured more than $205 million into the campaign.
After Edison made the projection, state figures showed the measure ahead 58% to 42% with nearly 95% of precincts at least partially reporting. The results are incomplete and must also be certified.
“I’m so, so happy. I know it’s right for the drivers, and I know it’s right for the people who use the services,” said retiree Jan Krueger, 62, who drives part-time for Lyft in Sacramento and got a “Mom Lyft” tattoo on her shoulder.