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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Uber, Lyft drivers file lawsuit to overturn Prop 22

Some app-based drivers say Prop 22 is crushing them, especially during the pandemic.

SAN DIEGO — A lawsuit was filed Tuesday challenging Proposition 22 which just took effect last month. Prop 22 allows California’s app-based drivers to be considered independent contractors and not employees.

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit claim that Prop 22 has allowed Uber and Lyft to exploit them: stripping them of their rights as workers and keeping the state legislature from passing any other laws to support them.

“The court must strike down Proposition 22 because it is unconstitutional,” said Bob Schoonover, SEIU Local 721 President.

Four plaintiffs who drive as independent contractors, the SEIU and the California Labor Federation are suing to get Proposition 22 overturned. Some app-based drivers say Prop 22 is crushing them, especially during the pandemic.

“App workers desperately need a safety net and protections. COVID-19 made this clear,” said Hector Castellanos, an app-based driver who’s a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The drivers said Prop 22 has taken away California gig workers’ basic rights like overtime pay, paid family leave, sick days, unemployment insurance and the choice to form a union.

“I’ve been a Lyft driver for over five years. In that time, I’ve watched my pay and working conditions get worse while my bosses rake in billions of dollars and saw their stocks soar because of my hard work,” said Mike Robinson, another app-based driver and plaintiff.

Prop 22 was passed with 58% of the vote and over $200 million spent, mainly by gig companies. But the drivers do have support from one California legislator. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego, released a statement, saying in part:

“Prop. 22 not only created a permanent underclass of workers in California — it stripped the Legislature of its power to step in and improve working conditions for hundreds of thousands of app-based workers.”

Some workers said the impact of Prop 22 is already starting to show. Albertson’s grocery stores have decided to use third-party contractors and get rid of its home delivery drivers. Vons and Pavillions, both owned by Albertsons, also plan to eliminate the position.