Future of CA's gig economy likely to be decided by voters on Nov. 3

The future of the gig economy could be upended in the November 3rd election. 

Voters will decide on Proposition 22, which is whether Uber, Lyft, and other companies should classify gig workers as employees.

Hundreds of those opposed to the measure held a rally in front of Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco on Thursday afternoon. 

“We’re against 22 because Uber and Lyft keep taking more, more and more and if Prop 22 passes,” said Richardo Pheaini, a gig worker for Uber & Lyft Driver and opponent of Prop 22.

A “No” vote would force rideshare and delivery companies to treat drivers as employees and pay a minimum wage and offer benefits.

A driver, who currently an independent contractor, says she is forced to drive 60 to 75 hours a week just to make the same amount of money did four years when working 40 hours a week. 

“If I want to make more money, I have to drive more. And the last four years that I’ve been driving, they’ve been consistently cutting my rates, which makes it hard and harder to earn a basic fair wage, said Tomje Ettesvoll, a Uber & Lyft.

It’s an uphill battle of mammoth proportions with Uber, Lyft, food delivery app DoorDash and others raising $186 million, money used to push for a “Yes” vote, allowing companies to continue to classify drivers as independent contractors.  

“Right now we can drive for any platform. We can drive for Lyft, we can drive for Uber, we can drive for DoorDash and we can pick and choose the times that we do that, said Jimmy Strano, a rideshare Driver, who Supports Prop 22.

Matthew Record, assistant Professor of public policy at San Jose State University says opponents to the measure are likely full-time drivers.  

“They're working the gig economy not because they want the flexibility, but because it was the only means of earning a living that was available to them,” Record said. “It's worth sort of exploring how much does flexibility actually matters to people and just think to yourself. How much flexibility would you be willing to sacrifice if it meant that you had a stable job to provide for your family, provide for your retirement?

A "Yes on Proposition 22" funded study conducted by U.C. Riverside School of Business, estimates workers would make a minimum wage of $25-27 per hour, but a U.C. Berkeley study slammed that report writing that it "overestimates drivers’ gross earnings." 

Results from the CAL study showed drivers would make a minimum wage of just $5.64 per hour