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Coalition of Rideshare & Delivery Drivers, Allies Launch Ballot Measure to Protect Right to Flexible Work as Independent Contractors for App-Based, On-Demand Drivers

October 29, 2019
Press Releases

For immediate release: Oct. 29, 2019
Contact: Stacey Wells, (866) 450-2648
press@protectdriversandservices.com 

SACRAMENTO – A coalition of drivers, business and community leaders today announced a new statewide ballot measure aimed for the November 2020 ballot that would protect the rights of hundreds of thousands of Californians to choose flexible work on rideshare and delivery platforms.

Known as the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act, the proposed ballot measure would provide drivers historic new benefits and protections, including a minimum earnings guarantee with expense reimbursement, an ACA-comparable healthcare subsidy, and insurance to cover on-the-job injuries, while still ensuring their ability to access flexible work as independent contractors.

“This ballot measure is going to be a win-win,” said Jermaine Brown, a Sacramento rideshare driver who works with both Uber and Lyft. “Not only do drivers get to keep our flexible schedules, but we also get new benefits like healthcare and more earnings potential. I’m a stay at home dad. I do things with my kids during the day and drive in the evening. Being able to have that flexibility and being able to drive how I want to drive really helps me and my family.”

“I do rideshare because the flexibility is phenomenal and it allows me to be there for my family while making extra money to supplement my retirement income from the Navy,” said San Diegan Llewellyn Holloway, retired Navy, who drives with Lyft. “I’m supporting the ballot initiative because it’s going to allow me to keep my flexibility, and that’s the most important thing to me. For all the people who think we’re better off as employees, they’re wrong, they’re dead wrong.”

Last session, the State Legislature passed AB 5, which threatens the freedom of Californians to earn on rideshare and delivery network platforms. The new law could take away driver flexibility – forcing them onto shifts, limiting their earnings or potentially eliminating the opportunity to earn on these platforms entirely.

“I’m a real estate broker and drive with DoorDash because I can fit it in my schedule and supplement my income,” said Issy Tindimwebwa, a DoorDash driver from Los Angeles. “When I have free time, or when I have something I need to raise money for quickly, I just go to my app and off I go. If I were an employee, I would not get that. This ballot measure would be great for me because it would enhance my ability to make more money, while at the same time allowing me the flexibility to do what I want any time I want.”

Hundreds of thousands of Californians choose to work as independent contractors because of the flexibility to earn supplemental income when, where and for how long they want. Many turn to these platforms because traditional employment doesn’t fit the needs and realities of their daily lives, including parents who want to work flexible schedules while children are in school; students who want to earn money part-time; retirees looking to supplement fixed incomes or for social interaction; and families struggling with California’s high cost of living.

“Families across California are struggling to make ends meet, particularly people of color and lower-income individuals,” said Dr. Tecoy Porter, President of the National Action Network, Sacramento Chapter. “This ballot measure will protect the rights of workers to earn extra income or primary income on their own terms while providing historic new earnings and benefit guarantees. This measure is a good deal for California workers.”

“I work eight hours a day at a homeless shelter as a cook and I do rideshare on my way to work and on my way home,” said Lorraine Hanks, a Lyft driver who lives in San Francisco. “If I were an employee, I wouldn’t get the same flexibility and would probably have to quit driving. San Francisco is so expensive to live that I need the extra money. Without my rideshare job and the extra income, I’d be a paycheck away from homeless.”

By promoting worker flexibility and economic security, the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act will protect the availability of rideshare and food delivery services. This includes transportation services that reduce impaired and drunk driving, improve mobility for seniors and the disabled, and provide new transportation options for families who cannot afford a vehicle.

“One thing we know for certain, rideshare services help take impaired drivers off of our roads and protect the public safety,” said Robert Ybarra, Founder and CEO, Fathers Against Drunk Driving. “It’s so easy now to make the right choice – the safe choice – but these services could be at risk, especially late at night when they’re most needed. This ballot measure will help protect rideshare services and the drivers who keep drunk and impaired drivers off of our roadways.”

This measure would also help protect the availability of delivery services that provide Californians affordable and convenient access to food and grocery delivery services, while empowering small businesses like restaurants, grocers and retailers to grow their businesses and compete in the digital age.

“These services generate critical revenues and income that are vital to the success of small businesses in California,” said David Nelson, Director of Public Policy, CalAsian Chamber of Commerce. “Forcing rideshare and delivery drivers to become employees would significantly limit the availability and affordability of these services to exist, and would stifle economic growth and small business expansion across our State, while ultimately driving up costs for the consumer.”

The Specifics

The Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Act would:

  • Protect worker flexibility and independence. The ballot measure would protect the right of app-based rideshare and delivery drivers to work as independent contractors if certain criteria are met, such as having control over their own hours and when, where, how long they work, and the ability to work for multiple companies.
  • Require new minimum earning and benefit guarantees, including:
    • Earnings guarantee, including:
      • At least 120 percent of the minimum wage, while preserving the opportunity to earn more
      • $0.30 per mile for expenses such as gas and vehicle wear and tear
    • Healthcare subsidies consistent with employer contributions under the Affordable Care Act for drivers who work 15 hours a week or more
    • Occupational accident insurance to cover on-the-job injuries
    • Automobile accident and liability insurance
    • Protection against discrimination and sexual harassment
  • Implement new customer and public safety protections.  The measure would provide for:
    • Recurring background checks of drivers
    • Mandatory safety training of drivers
    • Zero tolerance for alcohol and drug offenses
    • A cap on driver hours per day to prevent sleepy driving

The ballot measure is supported by a fast-growing coalition of drivers, as well as a variety of companies, including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart.

Broadcast quality video and sound bites from drivers in Sacramento, Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego are available on Dropbox (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/025gw6qr3d6k1t0/AAAnKqc2BYy7k12UlwQCs5joa?dl=0).