By Dawn Kawamoto  – Staff Reporter, San Francisco Business Times

Starting this week, your next ride-hailing trip or food delivery may also come with a political pitch to sign a petition to nullify the recently passed AB 5 gig worker law.

The Protect App-Based Drivers and Services coalition, which includes thousands of app-based drivers, small businesses, public safety representatives and community groups, will begin collecting signatures to get its initiative on the November ballot, the coalition said Wednesday afternoon.

This step is part of an escalating dogfight between ride-sharing and food delivery companies and the state of California, which recently passed AB 5 to reclassify a large swath of independent contractors in the Golden State into employees. The new law took effect Jan. 1.

Not only are Uber, Lyft and DoorDash putting in $90 million to fund this ballot measure, but Uber and Postmates filed a lawsuit several weeks ago against California that seeks to block the implementation of the new law.

And on Wednesday, Uber also sent a notice to its drivers and riders about how its service will change as a result of AB 5. Uber drivers, for example, will be given an improved view into the rides being requested, such as length of drive and payment, and the right to refuse such rides without penalty.

The coalition is aiming to collect in excess of the required 623,212 valid signatures that will be needed to get the initiative on the November ballot.

It has more than 27,000 drivers who support the ballot proposal, the coalition stated.

The ballot initiative calls for allowing app-based drivers and food delivery people the right to retain their independent contractor status. Companies that use their services would also be required to provide these workers with a payment of 120% of minimum wage plus 30 cents per-mile for expenses. App-drivers would also receive a monthly health care stipend of 82% for a Covered California Plan or $367 per month.

As the weeks and months progress toward the November election, the fight between California and the app-based driver companies is likely to rise to an even more fevered pitch. 

“Recent legislation could threaten this flexible way to earn money by forcing me to become an employee, which doesn’t work for me. I’m excited to sign the petition, spread the word to all my passengers and do whatever I can to make sure we pass this in November,” Lorraine Hanks, a Lyft driver and San Francisco resident, said in a statement.


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