California court upholds independent status law for Uber drivers
This decision is a victory for the international company whose economic model depends on this status.
The law on the independent status of app drivers as Uber is not contrary to the Constitution of California, ruled on Monday March 13 an appeals court of this American state, a victory for the international company whose economic model depends on this status. Today’s decision is a victory for workers and the millions of Californians who voted for Proposition 22.reacted Tony West, the legal director of Uber, referring to the law approved in a referendum in 2020, which devoted paid work to the task, but granted drivers some social benefits.
Uber, its competitor Lyft, and other platforms refuse to consider drivers as full employees, which would mean granting them certain rights, such as unemployment benefits or possible collective bargaining. Associations of drivers and unions campaigning for the status of employees won a first battle in August 2021, when a judge declared Proposition 22 “unconstitutional”because it limited “the power of the assembly” to legislate in the future on this subject. Asked by AFP, one of these associations, RDU (Rideshare Drivers United), did not immediately react to the decision.
Uber epitomizes the “gig economy,” or the gig economy, widely adopted, but also widely criticized, in many major cities around the world. The group defends its economic model step by step, but it has had to let go of ballast in certain countries. In the United Kingdom, in 2021 it had to grant salaried worker status to its British drivers, with minimum wage and paid leave, a world first for the company.
58.6% in favor of the law
But in the United States the platform continues to resist. Along with its competitor Lyft and delivery services, it had spent more than $200 million in 2020 promoting the “yes” to Proposition 22. And three months before the vote, the two California companies had threatened to completely halt their service in the state, which would have put tens of thousands of people out of work. Voters had voted 58.6% in favor of the law proposed by the companies.
“Across the state, drivers said they were happy with Proposition 22, which allows them to enjoy new benefits while preserving work flexibility through apps”, said Tony West on Monday. The vehicle-with-driver (VTC) reservation and meal delivery platform recorded a net loss of $9.1 billion in 2022, despite a net profit of nearly $600 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. Its title took nearly 5% during electronic trading after the close of trading on Monday.