Date: June 6, 2023
Contact: Molly Weedn, (415) 209-4217
[email protected]

California Attorney General’s Office, App-Based Drivers, Constitutional Law Experts and Social Justice Leaders Urge California Supreme Court to Let Proposition 22 Stand

Experts Encourage California Supreme Court to Uphold Prop 22 and Deny Special Interest Petition for Review

The California Attorney General’s Office, constitutional law experts, social justice leaders, and app-based rideshare and food delivery drivers are urging the California Supreme Court to deny review of a Court of Appeal ruling in favor of voter-approved Proposition 22. In amicus letters submitted to the Court and opinion pieces in newspapers across the state, they urged the high court to let the Court of Appeal decision in favor of Prop 22 stand. The Supreme Court is expected to decide over the summer whether to review the case.

Nearly 60 percent of California voters passed Prop 22 in November 2020, protecting the ability of app-based rideshare and delivery drivers to remain independent contractors while providing new benefits, including guaranteed earnings and access to a health care stipend. Prop 22 was supported by 120,000 California app-based drivers and a diverse coalition of more than 140 organizations.

Below is a sample of the arguments that legal experts, social justice leaders and app-based drivers are making in favor of upholding Prop 22, both in court filings and in newspapers across the state.

California Attorney General’s Office:

“[The Appeals Court] ruling presents no conflict of decision or unsettled important question of law warranting this Court’s further review.”

“The petition for review should be denied.”

Daniel Schnur, a former chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California, UC Berkeley and Pepperdine University, writing in the San Jose Mercury News:

“Given voters’ strong approval of Proposition 22 and now an appellate court decision that applied longstanding legal precedent in upholding the measure, the conversation around the constitutionality of the measure should be over. The Court of Appeal’s ruling is consistent with a century’s worth of case law regarding voters’ democratic rights, and the decision should not be disturbed.”

David Carrillo, executive director of the California Constitution Center at Berkeley Law, and Stephen Duvernay, the chief senior research fellow at the California Constitution Center, writing in the Daily Journal:

“California’s courts have consistently protected the voters’ legislative powers as one of the most precious rights of our democratic process. Since 1911, when California voters reclaimed for themselves the legislative power to make law, California’s constitution has placed the voters on equal footing with the legislature. As the Castellanos opinion explains, Proposition 22 is a good example of this duality: since the legislature certainly had the constitutional power to do what the measure did, and the voters can do just about anything the legislature can, the electorate had the power to enact Proposition 22.”

Rick Callender, president of the NAACP California/Hawaii State Conference, writing in the Los Angeles Sentinel:

“The benefits that Prop 22 brings to the Black community are vast. Not only does independent contract work give the flexibility for drivers to earn when they want, where they want, but it helps uplift Black businesses and communities as well.”

“The California Court of Appeal did the right thing in upholding Prop 22 and it’s high time the voice of voters be left as the law of the land.”

Alexsyia Flora, a Lyft driver in Los Angeles, writing for the Southern California News Group:

As an app-based driver, the recent decision from the California Court of Appeal was a huge relief.”

“App-based work has been an invaluable resource helping me make ends and provide for my family while I pursue my passions.”

As a film producer and director, my projects can be irregular and I often have unpredictable days that wouldn’t allow me to have a traditional job while being able to build my own business. When projects are slowing down, I have the comfort of knowing I can work extra hours driving to help bring in needed income. And when my plate is full at work, I know I can take a few hours driving here and there without any pressure. An added bonus is that as a working mom, I have the flexibility to care for a two-year-old, helping to save on what would otherwise be costly childcare.”

“… I hope that our elected officials, courts and most importantly – the people – understand that any attempt to undo independent contract status for app-based drivers is a direct affront to voters, drivers, and the very democracy that we live in.”

The CalAsian Chamber, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, California State Conference NAACP, National Action Network Los Angeles and the National Action Network Sacramento Chapter, Inc.:

“[This] challenge to Proposition 22, if successful, would not only undermine the will of millions of California voters. It would also potentially put at risk benefits workers and communities of color enjoy under the independent-contractor model. Approximately 80 percent of all ride-share drivers work less than 20 hours per week, and approximately 70 percent work less than 20 weeks per year. … And app-based workers, including workers of color, enjoy that flexibility: According to an August 2021 Pew Research Center survey, 81 percent of non-White adults with gig platform experience rate their experience positively—a rate 5 percent higher than for White adults.”

The Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Coalition, representing more than 122,000 app-based rideshare and food delivery drivers:

“Review [of this case] should be denied because an unbroken line of this Court’s precedent establishes that the People possess the same power as the Legislature to enact statutes, even when the Constitution gives the Legislature ‘plenary’ or ‘unlimited’ authority over an issue. The Court of Appeal properly applied this settled principle of law, and no other appellate decisions have ruled otherwise. There is thus no important question of law or disharmony in the lower courts for this Court to settle.”

The Southern California News Group Editorial Board:

“The appeals court rightly recognized that Californians, through the initiative process, retain vast powers to change the law if they so choose.”

“… California consumers appreciated the low-cost transportation and delivery services provided by such companies, and working Californians appreciated the flexible work arrangements to make extra money through such rideshare companies.”

“… The courts will do what they do, but here’s to hoping Prop. 22 is upheld.”

The Independent Drivers Alliance of California, an organization of California drivers who work with app-based platforms to earn a living or supplemental income:

“ …[T]he package of benefits and flexibility provided by the People’s enactment of Proposition 22 enjoys widespread support-not just among the public at large (as evidenced by the wide margin by which the initiative passed), but also among app-based workers themselves. And, as the State and the Intervenors have shown, there is no legal basis for imperiling that package of flexibility and benefits for thousands of workers who provide app-based services and the many more thousands of customers who rely upon such services.

“The troubling consequences of this Court merely granting review are significant. Even though this Court most likely would affirm the Court of Appeal’s prudent decision after merits briefing, granting review would inject uncertainty as to the future benefits and working conditions of app-based workers and destabilize their economic outlook, thus reducing the attractiveness of app-based work and harming consumers and merchants who depend on this vibrant industry (especially those in underserved communities).”

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About Protect App-Based Drivers & Services (PADS) Coalition

The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services (PADS) coalition, formerly the Yes on Prop 22 coalition, is continuing to engage to ensure the will of California voters is upheld; to protect access to independent, app-based jobs; and to preserve the availability, affordability and reliability of on-demand app-based rideshare and delivery services that are essential to Californians and our economy.

Proposition 22 was supported by 60% of California voters, 120,000 drivers, and a diverse coalition of more than 140 groups including social justice, senior, community, business, veterans and many others.

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