By Alexsyia Flora
In 2020, I was proud to be one of the nearly 10 million California voters who cast their ballots in support of Proposition 22. As a long time app-based driver, I worked hard to help educate my friends and families about the importance of being an independent worker, something that provides the flexibility I really need as a working mom. The measure gained the support of almost 60 percent of voters and protected my right to remain an independent contractor while gaining meaningful income as an app-based driver. Not only did Prop. 22 ensure that I can choose my own hours and maintain flexibility that works for me, but it also assured that I get new benefits, a healthcare stipend and guaranteed earnings.
Despite overwhelming voter support, special interests who opposed the initiative back in 2020 immediately took the measure to court, attempting to overturn the law with blatant disregard for millions of Californians and for drivers like me who want to remain independent.
Thankfully, an appellate court saw through this special interest effort and ruled to uphold the core principles of Prop. 22. I won’t be surprised if opponents try to find other avenues to overturn our independent status, but I’m hopeful those efforts are swiftly stopped in their tracks. The voters have spoken, drivers have spoken and the court has spoken. Enough is enough.
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.
With rising costs of living, economic uncertainty on the horizon and lingering impacts that COVID had on my industry, independent driver status is more important to me than ever. Plus, Prop. 22 ensures guaranteed earnings and important other benefits like access to a health insurance stipend that we didn’t have before the law was passed.
Those against Prop. 22 aren’t representing what’s best for hundreds of thousands of drivers like me. In fact, eighty-eight percent of drivers surveyed in 2021 said that Prop. 22 has been good for them. They, like me, love being their own boss by working when they want and how they want —with Prop. 22 benefits that help my family. Eighty-seven percent of drivers also believe Prop. 22 “should be protected by the courts.”
I’ve met countless drivers in my efforts to uphold Prop. 22 who feel just like I do and who are committed to ensuring Prop. 22 stays the law of the land. 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.
Alexsyia Flora is a Lyft driver in Los Angeles.