SAN DIEGO — With the new year comes new laws, including benefits for rideshare drivers, truckers and freelancers. Many Uber and Postmates drivers are unhappy with the new law and are suing to try and stop it from turning more than a million independent contractors into employees.
Uber and Postmates, the on-demand meal delivery service, are suing to block a broad new California law aimed at giving wage and benefit protections to people who work as independent contractors. This is the latest of many lawsuits against the state, arguing the law violates federal and state equal protection and due process guarantees.
They say AB 5 is an irrational and unconstitutional statute designed to target and stifle workers and companies in the on-demand economy... there’s also the concern that many businesses will cut ties with California because it will cost them too much to pay for benefits and increases wages.
A retiree and father of five says he chose to drive for Uber because he likes making his own hours and AB 5 would change that. “What is very, very awesome about what I do, driving Lyft is, I can do this whenever I choose. I can wake up anytime of day and go driving. So, the flexibility is priceless.”
This law was voted on by the California Assembly in September and signed by the Governor.
San Diego Assemblywoman, Lorena Gonzalez, wrote the law saying she wants to extend employee rights to those who lack benefits, including a minimum wage, mileage reimbursements, paid sick leave, medical coverage and disability pay for on-the-job injuries.
In response to the lawsuit, she said, “The one clear thing we know about Uber is they will do anything to try to exempt themselves from state regulations. In the meantime, Uber chief executives will continue to become billionaires while too many of their drivers are forced to sleep in their cars."
She has received many notes from freelancers like writers who will be laid off in 2020 begging her for help. Companies like Vox Media has already laid off hundreds of writers, mainly for their SB nation website.
The CEO of Uber has said they can keep driver’s flexibility while also giving them health care benefits but that would require going to the negotiating table with state lawmakers. Uber and Lyft have pledged hundreds of millions for a California ballot initiative to propose an alternative model.
This law set to take effect with the new year.