Tech

California voted for cheaper Uber and Lyft rides. It may have hurt drivers


In 2020, California voters approved Proposition 22, a law that app-based companies include Uber, Lyft and DoorDash said it would improve worker conditions while keeping trips and deliveries cheap and plentiful for consumers. But one report released today shows that shared drivers in the state have instead seen their effective hourly wages fall from levels before the law went into effect.

Research by PolicyLink, an advocacy and progressive research organization, and Rideshare Drivers United, a driver advocacy group in California, found that after car-sharing drivers in the state pay for the costs In regards to their business—including gas and vehicle wear and tear—they make an hourly wage of $6.20, far below California’s minimum wage of $15 an hour. The researchers calculated that if drivers were employed instead of independent contractors, they could earn an extra $11 per hour.

“Driving has only become more difficult since Proposition 22 was passed,” said Vitali Konstantinov, who started driving for ride-sharing companies in the San Diego area in 2018 and a member of Rideshare. Drivers United, said. “Although we are known as independent contractors, we do not have the ability to negotiate our contracts and companies can change our terms at any time. We need labor rights to be extended to the workers who are deployed to the app.”

Uber spokesman Zahid Arab wrote in a statement that the study was “deeply flawed,” saying that the company’s own data shows tens of thousands of drivers in California earn $30 per year. hours on the dates the team studied, although Uber’s figure doesn’t take into account driver costs. Lyft spokesman Shadawn Reddick-Smith said the report was “not related to the experiences of California motorists”.

In 2020, Uber, Lyft and other app-based delivery companies promote Proposal 22 as a way for California consumers and workers alike to get the cake and eat it. At that time, a new state law aimed at the gig economy, AB5, sought to convert app-based workers from independent contractors into employees, with all the worker rights tied to that status — healthcare, workers’ compensation labor and unemployment insurance. The law was founded on the idea that companies have too much control over their workers, wages, and relationships with customers for them to be considered independent contractors.

But for Big Gig companies, that change will cost hundreds of millions of dollars annually, every an estimate. The companies argued that they would struggle to stay afloat if forced to treat drivers like employees, that drivers would lose the ability to set their own schedules and rides would become scarce, and expensive. Companies, including Uber, Lyft, Instacart and DoorDash, introduced Proposition 22 in an effort to introduce exemptions for workers to drive and deliver on app-based platforms.

Under Proposition 22, which goes into effect in 2021, co-drivers continue to be independent contractors. They receive a guarantee of 30 cents per mile and at least 120 percent of the local minimum wage, excluding time and mileage driving between rides as drivers wait for their next fare, that Uber said accounts for 30 percent of the driver’s mileage when using the app. Drivers receive some accident and workers’ compensation insurance, and they may also be eligible for health care benefits, although previous research PolicyLink’s show that only 10 percent of California drivers used benefits, in some cases because they didn’t work enough hours to qualify.



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