San Francisco, CA — Today, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit against Uber and Lyft for evading state law by refusing to classify their workers as employees. This is a major victory for drivers and other misclassified gig workers across the state and nationwide. For years drivers have been pushing for dignity and respect in the workplace. Today’s lawsuit is an important step in the right direction.
A Big Win For Misclassified Gig Workers
“This is a big win for drivers,” said Carlos Ramos, a driver and worker organizer with Gig Workers Rising. “Billionaires like to pick and choose what laws they follow. Today, California is showing that no one is above the law, not even big tech. This is a win for workers and for organizing.”
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Drivers who organize with Gig Workers Rising have been actively working with the attorney general’s office on their investigations for this case, helping in attorney interviews and fact-finding to prove misclassification by these companies.
Since AB 5 was passed last year, Uber, Lyft, and other gig companies have fought tooth and nail to skirt the law and undo its protections, refusing to classify workers after the law was passed and then funneling more than $100 million into a ballot measure to kill the law. These billion-dollar corporations have left gig workers and the greater public needlessly vulnerable, especially in the midst of this pandemic.
Gig workers are essential workers yet are denied the most basic of protections, like paid sick leave, unemployment insurance and a minimum wage. As employees, workers would have access to these benefits and standing to demand more.
Uber And Lyft Refused To Work With Employment Development Department
To add insult to injury, gig companies like Uber and Lyft have refused to work with the state Employment Development Department, leaving workers stuck in unemployment limbo as the state recognizes them as employees but their employers have refused to pay into the state unemployment fund.
This decision by California will have national and international implications. For years these companies have invented novel forms of worker exploitation under the guise of innovation. That charade stops now.
We want to thank the elected leaders in California who listened to drivers and made a decision that will go down as a pivotal moment in our state’s fight for working rights.
At the same time, we cannot rest on our laurels. We will continue to fight for enforcement throughout the state. We will fight against the ballot measure put forward by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates to undo the protections of AB 5. We will continue to make sure companies like Uber and Lyft obey the law and afford drivers the dignity and respect they deserve.
Gig Workers Rising is a campaign supporting and educating app and platform workers who are organizing for better wages, working conditions, and respect. @GigWorkersRise