By Editorial Board
Defeated at the ballot box and in lower state courts, California unions are turning to the California Supreme Court to help them defeat Proposition 22. Voters approved Prop. 22 in 2020 to give app-based rideshare and delivery companies and drivers the ability to operate in California without onerous, union-backed rules requiring drivers to become full-fledged employees rather than independent contractors.
In March, a panel of the California Court of Appeal rejected union arguments that Prop. 22 was unconstitutional and upheld the independent contractor arrangements preserved by the measure.
The measure, as a reminder, was approved by nearly 60% of California voters. The appeals court rightly recognized that Californians, through the initiative process, retain vast powers to change the law if they so choose.
But unions, led by the Service Employees International Union California, have fought to undermine the will of the people because they want to not only control the course of what remains of the gig economy but want the ability to cash in and unionize such drivers.
They petitioned the California Supreme Court on Friday.
The unions are reiterating a line of argument they’ve hoped would be successful.
As described by the Sacramento Bee, “They argue that because the California constitution requires the Legislature to enforce a ‘complete’ workers compensation program, carving out independent contractors violates that constitutional mandate. If the Prop. 22 proponents wanted to change employment benefits law, they would’ve needed to do so through a constitutional amendment.”
But this just gets back to what the appeals court already affirmed, which is that the initiative process grants Californians significant power to amend state law.
“We believe the law is clear and settled and don’t believe the Supreme Court should grant review,” said the Protect App-based Drivers and Services Coalition in a statement responding to the SEIU petition.
As do we.
Rather than continue to drag out this fight, the unions should respect the 2020 election results. Californians made clear that they want rideshare services to remain as they were before passage of Assembly Bill 5 by the California Legislature, which significantly scaled back independent contracting in the state.
Ordinary 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.
That’s why they made the decision they did.
It’s time for the SEIU to catch up with the vast majority of Californians.
The courts will do what they do, but here’s to hoping Prop. 22 is upheld.
Read the original editorial in full