Gig workers react to Prop 22 ruling, as rideshare companies gear up for legal fight

Akram Alabbadi parked at the staging lot near San Francisco International Airport Saturday afternoon, where he and other Uber and Lyft drivers sit and wait for the flurry of requests from travelers needing a ride from the airport.

The parking lot was full of drivers, all of whom had a different understanding of what their future as rideshare drivers looks like, a day after the Alameda County Superior Court ruled that Proposition 22 is unconstitutional.

"I think most of the drivers are happy about it, because I mean, it's in favor of the drivers. Right now what Uber and Lyft are doing is treating drivers unfairly," Alabaddi, who has driven for Uber and Lyft for eight years, said.

Lyft deferred comment on Proposition 22 to Geoff Vetter, a spokesperson for the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Coalition (PADS), who called the court's decision "outrageous" and "an affront to the overwhelming majority of California voters who passed Prop 22," and vowed to file an appeal immediately.

A spokeswoman for DoorDash called the decision "not just wrong, but a direct attack on Dashers’ independence. It will not stand."

Uber spokesperson Noah Edwardsen said "this ruling ignores the will of the overwhelming majority of California voters and defies both logic and the law. You don’t have to take our word for it: California’s Attorney General strongly defended Proposition 22’s constitutionality in this very case. We will appeal and we expect to win. Meanwhile, Prop. 22 remains in effect, including all of the protections and benefits it provides independent workers across the state."

An email sent to Uber drivers Saturday from Andrew Macdonald, Uber's Head of Ridesharing Operations, reads in part:

"We know this creates uncertainty for you, so I wanted to update you on what will happen next: we will appeal this ruling, and we expect to win. In the meantime, nothing has changed. Prop 22 remains in effect, including all of the protections and benefits it provides independent workers like you, like guaranteed minimum earnings, injury protection, and more. It’s also important to say that this ruling does not reclassify drivers and delivery people as employees—preserving the flexibility and independence you have repeatedly told us you value.

Alabbadi said he has not received any company benefits or guaranteed minimum earnings from Uber, and surveyed a handful of other Uber drivers in the parking lot. None of them had either. Uber's website outlines the benefits that Proposition 22 is supposed to provide them.

The only thing many drivers at the parking lot said they liked about Proposition 22 was they got to stay independent contractors.
"We would like to be independent contractors, but again, we should be paid in the right way," a driver for Uber and Lyft who wished not to be identified for fear he could lose his job, said.

Drivers for Uber and Lyft showed KTVU receipts from their recent trips. Some rides took hours to complete. The customer paid $100 or more, but the driver earned just about half that amount, enough to pay for the gas, but not much more.

"I know they spent a lot of money on Prop 22," Alabbadi said. "It's unfair, they should give the money to drivers, that would be better."